Once Five Minutes, Now An Hour
The California Hotel to the McCarran International Airport
Beverly Hills to Brentwood
Ala Moana Shopping Mall to Waikiki
Sweet Economic Drivers, Part 1
"I know," Keanu said excitedly, "Hawai'i Popcorn with Hawai'i sea salt!"
"Nah," said Steve, "We can't grow corn here. It takes too much land. And popcorn will always be branded something Midwestern." Clearly, he was no fan of the Midwest.
A few heads bobbed in agreement. This meeting was like all of the monthly breakfast meetings of the Greater Hawai'i Economic Think Tank And Drinking Society. Brilliant business ideas were flung into the air like clay pigeons, only to be shotgunned down in small pieces.
Lars raised his hand. He was a haole who had only been living here seventeen years and thought he was a local. Lars said, "It would be ideal if there was a market for Hawai'i lava rock. Kilauea keeps making it, for free. Like Makrana Marble or Corinthian Leather or Hermès Scarf, Hawai'i Lava Rock could be famous as walls, countertops, sculpture, jewelry, ashtrays... Anything!"
The room fell loudly quiet. Finally, Ling said in a bored voice, "Unfortunately, you can't take lava rock off the islands, for bad luck shall befall all who do." She rubbed the phantom limb of her missing right foot. "Trust me, I know this to be true."
Yale chimed in, "Obviously, this lava rock opportunity won't work. Marketing studies have conclusively shown that people "do not buy products that are guaranteed to bring them bad luck."
Cori added, "And probable death."
Joy mentioned, "Anyway, rocks are heavy. The shipping cost kills it."
For once, the room was in complete agreement. Lava rock anything was a no-go; the Goddess Pele had made this quite clear on numerous occasions.
The atmosphere in the room was suddenly jostled, as if everyone had the same idea at the same time. Someone asked loudly, "Where's the waitress?" Coming up with brilliant business drivers to save the Hawai'i economy makes a person thirsty. The members of the Greater Hawai'i Economic Think Tank And Drinking Society were waving their arms to signal a waitress for another round. All except Jamey.
Jamey didn't like to drink before noon. Instead he was savoring a Hershey's chocolate bar that came in a swag bag. Jamey spoke to the group, "We need something American. So we can say "Made in America. In Hawai'i."
"Yes. Patriotic. But..." Simon set down his Mai Tai and adjusted his glasses for emphasis, "Something Made in America that can only be Made in Hawai'i."
This was the kind of challenging statement that gets members of GHETTADS into a creative whirlwind. Ideas started to fly.
"Rainbow Shell necklaces!"
Simon rolled his eyes and said flatly, "Chocolate."
"Nah," replied Jamey. "They make it in America. In Hershey, Pennsylvania." He wiped the chocolate off his lip with a napkin.
"They mix it on the mainland, but they don't grow it!"
Chiwan slapped the table and exclaimed, "Cacao!"
"Precisely," said Simon, "Hawai'i is the only US state where cacao can be grown! We're closest to the equator. Weather conditions are excellent. Cacao makes chocolate. Hawai'i chocolate can be the only true American chocolate."
The group was stunned to silence, but one could almost hear the gears in their minds whirling in entrepreneurial synchronicity.
"A gourmet item."
"Exclusive. Like wine."
"To be savored!"
"Hell, chocolate is good for you!"
"Free range labor, or, ya know, when workers get paid. No Blood Chocolate."
"The lava in the soil! The healing powers of Hawai'i!"
"Now that's brand-able!"
"I think we've got it!"
Herbie signaled to the waitress for another round and shouted after her, "And a bottle of champagne! By God, I think we've got it!"
All Aloha, Almost All the Time
"You can pay me $1 million and I will not go back," she said. "They don't deserve tourism or to be American. They should give them back their monarchy and get them out of the United States, and let them solve their problems by themselves."
That's my favorite line from a recent article in The Daily Beast, "Hawaii Has No Hate Crimes (Officially)."
The unfortunate statement was made by a tourist. She and her family had departed their cruise ship on Maui to see the black sands of Makena State Park. A local couple took umbrage at the intrusion of the non-native. Words flew. And fists followed. Cops were called.
In the land of Aloha, there are no Hate Crimes. Personally, I think "Take your white asses off our beach" is an expression of dislike. Who knows? Maybe it was well deserved. Tourists tend to be quite obnoxious.
If I were the defense lawyer, I would make the argument that "haole asses" would be deemed a racial slur while "white asses" could very well be an astute observation. Most Snow Birds in fact do have "white asses."
I am sorry the whole incident went down in happy Hawai'i. There is no ill in this paradise. Or at least, there shouldn't be. The point is, we don't like to read about it.
The statement, "Take your white asses off our beach," needs to be redirected, rechannelled and reframed into something more positive, such as, "Thank you for spending your tourist dollars here, in Hawai'i, instead of Havana."
Aloha says Hello and Goodbye.
HULA MOON is a celebration of Hawai'i. Send Hula Moon tips and scoops to e-mail address hulamoon [at] GordyGrundy [dot] com. Anonymity always guaranteed.
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