Who is this Bunduki* Guy, anyway?

Bunduki and dawn
Fearless Master of the Jungle
Sacrifice for the Quagga God

Edited from the notes of LK in the North Ryde Edson Archives (raising the inevitable question: did Edson anticipate David Foster-Wallace's fractal footnotes?)

Perhaps I've been remiss in my duties as Keeper of the Flame, having never before set down on screen the True History of the CiSRA Bunduki Challenge.  By now, most CiSRAns have probably gathered that J.T. Edson, better known for his copious and quite readable Western fiction, turned his hand to a series modeled on the Tarzan stories.  That hand should have turned elsewhere.

X, it was, who discovered the book in a box of secondhand discards, at the special price of 20c. `Hmm, this looks like the sort of cr*p I've seen L read,' she calumnously mused.  But so, in all innocence, this dread book made its way into our hands.

`I'm not reading that!', I said, taking one look at the cover (upon which a Tarzan-like figure wrestled a giant crocodile), and tossing it aside. The ever-thrifty X humphed, and some time later decided to read the thing, to get her 20 cents worth. Or so she thought.

Hoots, shrieks and astonished gasps are not the sounds that X normally makes as she reads. At last, the book fell from her nerveless fingers. I can't remember her exact words, but they were something to the effect that the book was bad. Quite astonishingly bad. In fact, I think she expressed a doubt that anyone could read this book.

Anyway, to cut a long story less long, my curiosity was sufficiently piqued to give it a try. Stubbornly, I set out to read it.  The first page was bad. So bad, in fact, that it was funny. The 2nd page, too, had its own accidental humour. But after that, it went downhill.  Anyway, I'm trying to keep this short, aren't I?  So, in due course, I began circulating the book at work. The rules were, that when the text had a footnote, you had to read the footnote. (After all, if you left out the footnotes you'd be skipping half the text!) And if the author referred you to an Appendix, you had to dive off and read the Appendix at that point. And when you finally gave in and admitted defeat, you had to write your name in the margin, perhaps with a short comment.  I gave up during the never-ending Quagga hunt.

Now, it came to pass that one then-CiSRAn, JS, took the challenge. And JS, although soon defeated by the mighty Bunduki (also know as the `fearless master of the jungle'), noticed something that none of the other, more innocent readers had. And mailed out about it to social.  `This guy's outrageous! Have you read this passage, where he describes what Bunduki looks like? ``Bunduki's massive physical endowment was perfectly obvious, clad as he was in only a leopardskin loincloth.'' Strewth - he's saying that Bunduki's a tripod!'  Now, this remark was perhaps unfortunate, because it set up an echo on the social mail that lasted for days, and culminated in the athletic JS himself acquiring the title first of `tripod', and then `Bunduki'.

Jason found the title less than perfectly pleasing, and when his email address mysteriously changed to J `Bunduki' S and his email icon changed into a leopardskin pattern (now possessed, all unknowingly, by JC), the matter began to actively annoy him.  For months JC wriggled on the Bunduki hook, especially tweaked and needled by that maestro of mayhem, C (`Dude!') B, as JC became ever more desperate to lose the Bunduki title he had so unfortunately acquired.

And then, in a mighty flash of inspiration, it came to him!  The title of Bunduki was not deserved by him (despite his massive physical prowess). And there was a way to determine who did deserve the honour. So it was that JC, one of the doughty CiSRA daily runners-of-huge-distances-for-pleasure (no, I'm not kidding, they're real - they exist!), JC created the Bunduki Challenge.

And so it was that a few short weeks later, most of CiSRA gathered at a nearby sportsfield to determine the mightiest, fastest, and most heroic CiSRAn of all. The powerful competitors gathered at the track, there to race the quarter mile, to settle who it was that truly deserved the title of Bunduki.  Despite rumours that the now-famous Bunduki Loincloth was provided by one of the female graphic artists here - it was in fact contributed by S, JC's wife. (The story they gave was that it was part of her costume in a Rock Eisteddford, believe it or not.)  And JC did in fact run the race wearing the Bunduki leopardskin loincloth.

And who won? Well, I'll leave that tale 'til another day. But JC passed on the title of Bunduki, the loincloth, and the Bunduki Cup to one more worthy to carry it.

... And so began the tradition of the CiSRA Bunduki Challenge.

*Also known as Dapan Dankara, for less than obvious reasons.