Change comes slowly to this remote mountain town of 432 souls. The township is so isolated, it became the focus of a five year study, after being identified as the most inaccessible municipality in the continental United States during the most recent Census.
The main source of news is still the mid-morning newscast from the low-power UHF TV Station WDMF, with studios located in the back room of Ernie’s General Mercantile Emporium, Public Library and Post Office. The newscast used to be earlier in the day, until the schedule for the daily coal train passing by downtown Drumpfville was changed several years ago. Newscaster, proprietor and postmaster Ernie Schillback has had a long-standing arrangement with the railroad’s engineers, who throw their copy of The Shwatupaluta Leader on his doorstep every day.
Officials of encompassing Shwatupaluta County, still referred to locally as ‘them damn revenuers‘, have not stepped foot in the village since several unfortunate tar and feathering incidents in the mid sixties.
The biggest political issue is a decades-long, bitter debate on whether the ‘f‘ in the town’s name should be silent or not.
The town is not completely cut off from the outside world. There are a few radio stations that can be picked up intermittently in the mountainous terrain known to interfere with broadcast reception. While home internet is still an almost non-existent rarity, internet access is freely available to all residents via Mr. Schillback’s AOL account at a public computer in his store.
A group of graduate anthropology and psychology students from West Virginia Polytechnic have spent the past five years living amongst this isolated populace, slowly gaining a begrudged trust from the denizens.
“We’ve discovered one startling metric that is the single trait shared by 100 percent of the study population,” Project Leader Ernst Fukidima told our own Flying Car News Team at the study group’s base camp located a half-mile outside of town. “Over the past few years we’ve conducted literally thousands of personality profiles, double-blind studies, all of the normal research that gets the most funding. For the most part, the study population is as diverse as one would expect to find with any similarly sized population, regardless of external environmental factors. Except for one factor, that when compared against the compiled data, sticks out like a giant, sore thumb: The complete apathy displayed by every member of this population, regarding the British rock group Led Zeppelin.
It’s really the weirdest thing. We still can’t determine the root cause for this unique factor. These people have been exposed to popular culture and music, albeit in smaller doses than the norm. And historically, Led Zeppelin is a polarizing, ‘love it or hate it’ factor in every study I’ve ever conducted. But in this town, the subject is a total so-what. I mean, if ‘Stairway to Heaven‘ happens to be playing on the radio, no one here will shut it off, but it’s strictly background noise to them. If you ask five minutes later what song was playing, they won’t remember.
This phenomena does not appear to extend to any other popular group or figure, musical or not. You’ll find the standard mix of opinions, with varying degrees of strength, regarding anyone else. In fact, just mention Justin Bieber in the wrong context, and you’re liable to start a wild bar fight. Trust me on that one.”