Barack Obama could be the answer!
Finally! A reason to visit Hawaii!
For years the Hawaii Tourism Authority has been desperately seeking a way to attract visitors. It's not like Connecticut where vacationers flock to see their nutmeg. Hawaii is a tough sell.
Two creative directors have been given this near impossible assignment. Practically every day you can see them walking along some pristine beach, the healing tradewinds cooling them in this 85 degree winter weather, wondering why anyone would want to come here.
"If there were only Hawaiian potatoes," one laments, knowing then they could compete with such destination states as Idaho. In frustration he kicks one of the many coconuts at his feet.
Following a spectacular but distracting sunset they brainstorm late into the night, lit only by the erupting volcano. There's got to be something! And to make matters worse, the music and gorgeous hula dancers from the luau are so loud they can't think over their exotic Polynesian dinner.
Famous Hawaiians were discussed and a campaign to visit the homeland of Benny Agbayani was drawn up. Agbayani, a former New York Met, is famous for once forgetting how many outs there were and giving a live ball to a fan in the stands while two runners crossed home. When he returns from a card show in Modesto they will present the idea to him.
Another idea is to fool people planning a driving trip. Re-record the standard, Route 66 with just a slight adjustment to the lyrics. "Don't forget Winona, Flagstaff Arizona, Kingman, Kona, San Bernardino." This idea is now on hold pending a Nat King Cole impersonator.
They established a film board and for awhile that was looking good. They persuaded the great Steven Spielberg to direct a couple of his movies on the islands, then took out full page ads in major U.S. newspapers saying, "See Jurassic Park and the real Hawaii." That backfired badly when vacationers feared for their lives since dinosaurs inhabited the islands.
But now native son, Barack Obama will in mere days become the President of the United States! Tourists will definitely want to see where he grew up. The pizza parlors, the high school gyms -- all the places that soon will become synonymous with Hawaii.
But then comes the bigger question: Once these tourists have journeyed all this way and taken that Obama tour, then what the hell is there for them to do?
You can read more from Ken at kenlevine.blogspot.com