The Babiuk Curse


You’ve all heard of Bad Luck Schleprock, right? The sightless gnome followed around by his own personal raincloud and causing pain and anguish everywhere he goes? He first appeared on the Flintstones about the same time as the Great Gazoo? Just a cartoon character? Mystical nonsense, right? Fictional whimsy. Curses, jinxes and hexes don’t really exist. Right?

Will you accept the Book of Exodus as evidence? The part where Moses cursed Egypt when the Pharoah wouldn’t let the Israelites free. Shortly thereafter, the Nile turned to blood, frogs fell from the sky, the country was infested with lice and flies, the livestock became diseased, the people covered in boils, hailstorms ravaged the country, locusts swarmed it, there were three days of darkness and all first-born Egyptians were slain.

Not religious? Well, how about sports then? Surely you’ve heard about the Curse of the Bambino, right? How the Boston Red Sox never won another World Series for close to a century after trading Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920.

Prefer movies? Have you heard about the curse of the “Little Bastard?” James Dean was killed driving a silver Porsche 550 Spyder he called “Little Bastard.” After the accident, when the car was getting a tune up, Little Bastard fell on the mechanic’s legs and crushed them. The car’s engine and transmission was later sold to two doctors who raced cars. While racing against each other, one driver was killed, the other seriously injured. Someone else had purchased the tires, which blew simultaneously, sending the driver to the hospital. Finally, Little Bastard was set to appear in a car show, but a fire broke out in the building the night before the show, destroying every car except Little Bastard, which survived without a stain. While being transported, the car was loaded onto a truck for delivery to a new owner, but the truck’s driver lost control, was thrown from the cab, and was crushed by the car when it fell off the trailer. Tell me now you don’t think curses can exist.

Don’t tell it to any U.S. President elected in a twenty-year cycle from 1840-1960. Every single one of them died in office after being hexed by the native leader Tecumseh, who was defeated by President Harrison in the battle of Tippecanoe. Sure enough, Harrison caught cold at his own Presidential inauguration and was dead within a month. Harrison was followed, in turn, by Presidents Lincoln — (elected 1860, assassination), Garfield, (elected 1880, assassination), McKinley (elected 1900, assassination), Harding (elected 1920, heart attack), Roosevelt (elected 1940, stroke), and Kennedy (elected 1960, assassination).

So when it comes to curses we have Moses, cars, baseball players, and … well … me, or where I choose to live more precisely. The Babiuk Curse. Which surely exists. How else do you explain Yemen, Libya and Japan?

These are the facts. Was I the cause? Well, that’s my argument. How else can you explain the following: Yemen, the late 1990s, where I worked for several years. For the first time in decades, a repeated cycle of uprising, secession, re-union and civil war seemed to be ending. Oil production was up and the economy seemed to be improving. The United States threw their support behind the Yemeni President. Then, I left. Within a few years, kidnappings had become a growth industry, al-Qaeda suddenly had a foothold, the South was angling for secession again, and parts of the Shiite north were rebelling against the central authorities. The Babiuk Curse. Thank you very much. Any connection to my coming and going from that country might seem only coincidental if it hadn’t been for what came next.

I was in Libya for two years. At the time, Libya had finally shook off the embargo of the West, Qaddafi was purportively giving up his troublesome ways, the economy was improving, tour ships were docking along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman and Phoenician ruins were being restored and I could walk anywhere I wanted in Tripoli without a second thought. After I left came street protests, civil war, Western military intervention, the death of Qaddafi and a still-evolving state. The cause? Obvious, isn’t it? At least to me. The Babiuk curse. Thank you very much.

I know what you’re saying. Sure, anyone can be a jinx in places like Yemen and Libya, right? Okay, what about Japan then? Japan, the safest place on earth. Japan, the place where people don’t die from violence, disease or even old age, just boredom or bad Boy-Band pop groups. The lowest crime rate in the world, the longest life span, forbidden constitutionally to even have an army. I lived and worked there for five years. We all know what happened after I left. In March this year, when one the largest earthquakes ever recorded took place. Followed within minutes by a horrendous tsunami. And then the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

The Babiuk Curse? I’ll let you decide. I won’t tell you where I live now. I’m in negotiations with the good burghers to ensure I don’t leave their fair town. There are a lot of places I could go to next and I’ll shortly be contacting them, too, to see what incentives they can offer me to stay away. The Babiuk Curse. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you. Unless you can convince me to stay away.