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  • Sophomore year. Early '80s. We had a portable color TV on our homemade bar, which was a luxury at the time since not everybody had TVs in their dorm rooms. Forget cable; we were happy just to have a presentable network signal. We’d watch whatever was on while saving money with pre–going-out drinks so that we wouldn’t have to spend as much later on Marshall Street.

    If it was Thursday night, it was Magnum. If it was any other night, it was whatever happened to be going out over the airwaves—and we kept the volume all the way down so that we could play the music we felt like listening to while we made up our own dialogue.

    One night, I walked in to find my roommate settled into the couch. Gimlet in hand, he watched the silent screen as ominous clouds rolled across it and over tropical mountains at high speed.

    “What’s this?”

    He sipped his cocktail. “Fucked-Up Island.”

    I watched. It was clear that he had no idea what this was. Some sort of TV-movie. And it didn’t matter anyway. I dropped a mix tape into the boom box, hit play, grabbed a beer, and sat down.

    On screen, something alarming had happened to the men and women gathered, and they shared varying looks of concern. Then came the transition to the next scene: the accelerated clouds rolled in over the hills and palm trees again.

    “See?” My roommate took another sip. “It’s fucked up.”

    I’ve forgotten more than I remember from my college years. But Fucked-Up Island has never left me.

    Probably, I strongly suspect, because I’ve never left it.

    Image by edward musiak under a Creative Commons license.
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