Kermet Apio's Laugh Corner
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On January 20th America inaugurated its 44th president and didn’t return the damage deposit to the outgoing 43rd president. President Obama’s assuming of the White House marked many firsts in our country’s history, most importantly the first time a person who grew up in Hawaii and moved to the mainland was elected to the highest office in the land. For far too long our minority has not been represented in the White House. Hopefully we can pass our “Kama’aina Rate For Anyone Who Lived In Hawaii More Than 10 Years” bill through the House and Senate. This was a bright day for all of us. And I believe African Americans were pretty happy too.
Another first was the first “shaka” done at a presidential inauguration (unless you count the 1993 ceremony when President Clinton had thumb to ear and pinky to mouth and said “call me” to someone in the audience). Many in the mainstream press referred to it as the “Thumb and Pinky Gesture,” which almost makes me not want to do it. A cultural greeting has been made to sound like a children’s song about blister safety.
Laura Bly of the USA Today wrote an article about the growth of Obama tourism in Hawaii. Tour buses take visitors on a tour of Obama’s life on Oahu. Weary travelers trek thousands of miles to experience the magic of Makiki where rows of three story apartment buildings still sport their original paint from the 1940’s. They cannot stop, however, because a recent study concluded that Makiki has not had an available parking space since 1974.
The article quoted driver Mitch Berger, as he slowed down near an apartment in Kaimuki where President Obama’s father lived while attending UH, “It wouldn’t be too far off to think that the 44th President was conceived right here.” I know. I’m glad I didn’t hear what was said up at Tantalus.
The article then said that upon hearing this, customer Ben Nworie (I don’t know if I’m pronouncing that correctly), a Nigerian born college professor and pastor, said simply “Wow.” Apparently he is incredibly moved by innapropriate minutia. I’m hoping there was more to his sentence that they did not hear. Maybe he said “Wow, that’s too much information,” or “Wow, that is disturbing you incredibly creepy tour bus driver who smells of bourbon.”
They mention the Baskin Robbins in Makiki where Obama once worked. PLEASE tell me he got fired and the owner said he’d never amount to anything. By the way, that is another first: a Punahou student who needed to work. Sorry Punahou grads but you got a President. I’m sure you can take a few jokes. During the campaign the BR store featured a “Whirl of Change” flavor that was not a big seller. So apparently Hawaiians want change, but only if it’s tasty.
Speaking of that, the article points out that Rainbow’s is President Obama’s favorite spot for plate lunch. You mean the place where IOLANI students cut class for mixed plates? I don’t mean to get into a turf war with the leader of the free world but he might want to head over to Gracie’s (picture me doing a “West Side Story” pre-battle dance with flicking fingers and a pompadour wig).
The Aqua Hotel (a favorite of the President) offers the “Obamarama” package, which includes hotel, rental car, and five locals who wear suits and ear pieces and push people away when you arrive anywhere.
There is also a mention of Sandy Beach, the site of another first. It is the first time a president body surfed during a campaign (unless you count the 1992 campaign stop when Clinton stage dived during a Mudhoney concert). If you see the You Tube videos of Obama body surfing, it doesn’t look like a president. It looks like any friend of yours at the beach when you were 15. Here are my scores of his style (on a scale of 1 to 10):
Wave Timing: 7
Lead Arm: 9
Ride Along Face: 9
Finish: Couldn’t see it because it’s Sandy’s
Discreetly Getting Sand Out Of Shorts: 10
The article says that you can buy a laminated driving map called “Obama’s Oahu” which allows you, on your own time, to experience Makiki. Sweet. This made me wonder what the “Apio’s Oahu” map would highlight. Not that there’s a market for that but it’s worth a dream. Let’s take you on an unwanted tour.
First, we stop in Ewa Beach where a short hike into the bushes brings you to garbage and rusted out car frames that Kermet played in. Then there’s the house in Foster Village where Kermet spent his high school years sleeping. Then we head to the bus stop near Nimitz Highway where Kermet spent a lot of time sleeping while standing. Then we go to Rainbow’s, the IOLANI hang out. I don’t care what that other map told you. Here in Kaimuki we see a building that used to be a video game place where Kermet wasted much of his parents’ money on Pac Man. We also offer a tour of places where Kermet was told “I like you as a friend. That’s all,” but that is a full day tour. If you want to see where Kermet has worked, we’ll be heading to a graveyard in Kaneohe and a buffet restaurant in Waikiki that featured gravies from every region in America. Sadly, neither place produces leaders the way the Makiki Baskin Robbins does.
For now the tour is free, especially since the tour guide is creepy and drunk on bourbon.
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