Kermet Apio's Laugh Corner
So last week I went back to Hawaii because I ran out of Li Hing Mango and to attend my 20 year reunion. And yes, in that order. I graduated from Iolani School , class of 1985. I know, you’re looking at my picture thinking “What? You graduated when you were 9 years old?” I don’t look much like I did when I was in high school except for the crooked teeth and acne scars. Those stayed.
I remember back in 1985 wondering if I would even be alive for this reunion considering my many poorly thought out alcohol influenced decisions (examples: cliff jumping, tackle football on a dirt parking lot, and Zippy’s Katsu at 3:00a.m.). I thought that if I did make it to my 20 year reunion I would be old. I would probably have a wife, kids and grey hair, drive a wagon, and my knees would hurt all the time. If I had said balding instead of grey hairs I would have been dead on. I’m learning that there are four stages of approaching 40: Denial, Anger, Acceptance, and Sport Car. So if any of you know of a 5.0 liter V6 cherry red Mustang for under $1000 please email. I’ll be needing it in two years.
1985 was back when bands like Duran Duran and Loverboy played arenas and stadiums, not the Firehouse in Ballard. There were no Playstations or Game Cubes. We had Pong. There were no cell phones, just car phones the size of cinder blocks. You could drive from Ewa Beach to town in less then four days. As I type this it sounds like it’s been an eternity.
I flew to Hawaii with a bit of trepidation. Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted to catch up with classmates, but I wasn’t sure I wanted them to catch up with me. Iolani is essentially a success factory. The percentage of lawyers, doctors, dentists, engineers and the like is quite impressive. Every once in a while though, someone falls through the cracks and becomes a comedian. Here is the conversation I was afraid of:
“So, what do you do?”
“Well, I’m a research scientist and I was recently able to isolate the gene that represents a weakness in immune receptors, thereby paving the way for advancements in battling allergies and asthma. What have you been doing?”
“I made a fart noise in a beer tavern and people chuckled.”
My plan was simple: tell everyone I am a consultant. I don’t know exactly what a consultant is but they always have really cool business cards and picture phones. No one really knows what a consultant does. In fact, I read in an article that 38 percent of consultants actually don’t know what they do.
There was one problem with my plan. Comedy is quite a novelty, a conversational sideshow if you will. Just about everyone knew what I do for a living not because they saw me on television but because at some point someone called or emailed with the “Oh my God, did you hear what Kermet’s doing?” line. Sadly, there is no circus clown or eccentric candy factory owner from our class to hide behind. Oh well, so much for the consultant business cards I made up in Photoshop.
When I arrived at the reunion I was excited to see the many faces I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was wonderful to talk to old friends. It turns out the catching up wasn’t near as embarrassing as the reminiscing. There were too many pictures and stories passed around that included me. I did not want to see pictures of a skinny kid with a semi-afro dancing to “The Bird” (see Purple Rain circa 1984). And I began to cringe every time someone started a story with “Remember the time Kermet suggest that we…”. It never ended well. It was usually funny, just not smart.
It turned out to be a great weekend. I was impressed that these people whom I knew as kids had become great adults, all with a true appreciation for the preparation we got at Iolani. I was very proud to be ranked 173 out of 197 in this group. Yes, Iolani had rankings.
On the flight back I thought about my fears about 2005 back when I was in high school and I realized the fact that I have a wife and kids and drive a wagon are the things I want to brag about the most. Then I realized I forgot to buy Li Hing Mango. Well, they say memory is the first thing to go.
p.s. HUGE congratulations to the kids from Ewa Beach who came from 3 runs down, forced extra innings and won the Little League World Series against a very talented Curacao team. Having grown up in Ewa each, it is hard to express how incredibly proud I am not only of what they accomplished but the character with which they accomplished it. Ho'omaikai boys, you deserve it.
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