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Kermet Apio's Laugh Corner

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September 2006

Mister, Can You Spare a Quarter?


One thing I do here at the NWHIT is find that story that is buried under the meaningful news. A story that is not in the forefront of the people’s minds but yet lends itself to ironic commentary and dry punchlines. My colleagues can have the important stories, the informative stories, the stories that answer questions that people are asking. I’ll take the rest. And now, the rest.

This week Hawaii ’s governor, Linda Lingle, received final recommendations from the (I’m not kidding) “Hawaii Commemorative Quarter Advisory Commission”. In 2008, the U.S. mint will print the final state commemoration quarter celebrating Hawaii, the last state to be forced join America. Yes, state quarter fever is sweeping about eight percent of the nation! As a matter of fact, recently I was walking downtown and a man asked if I could spare a quarter. When I gave him one he said “Oh, I already have Virginia. Do you have Nebraska ?”

I have friends and relatives who are collecting the quarters. I wish my Mom had told me that before the first time she started rifling through my change. I thought she had lost her retirement in a draw poker machine at the Golden Nugget. I sort of collect coins. We have a jar that we put loose change into. I call it “the closest thing the kids have to a college fund.” Hopefully they find a college that costs $48 a year (minus Coinstar charges).

I didn’t realize there is a commission for this state quarter thing. They have a website and official stationery. They have had meetings since March. I wonder how many quarters that cost the taxpayers. The commission was made up of politicians, teachers, ethnic group leaders, high school students, two union leaders, and the guy from downtown looking for the Nebraska quarter. According to the website, each member had to go through (once again, not kidding) “confirmation and background clearance”, because the last thing you want are n’er-do-wells designing your coin. You would hate for your state quarter to be a tattooed guy with a doo-rag saying “Brah, Whatchyoo lookeen’ at?!” So after five months, the commission accomplished what you or I could have done in five minutes. Here are the fruits of their labor:

1). Surfing

2). Aloha Spirit (hula dancer)

3). Diamond Head

4). Hawaii – the island state

5). Hawaii – diverse but unified


OK, the first three are all wonderful examples of what Hawaii has to offer, but putting a surfer, a hula dancer, or Diamond Head is a bit unoriginal. The same thing that is on your quarter would be on every item sold at the ABC store. I don’t want my quarter to look like a Waikiki snow globe. And as for number 4, ‘The Island State”, that’s way too obvious. That’s like South Dakota’s quarter saying “Of the Dakotas, we’re the lower one.” Or Arizona’s quarter saying “Oh crap, it’s hot.” Why not say “ Hawaii, the one you can’t drive to?”

Of the five, I like the last one the best. The problem is, how do you illustrate that? Maybe a picture of Frank Delima, the man who makes us laugh at diversity. Or maybe an aerial picture of Ewa Beach, where a very diverse group of people unite under huge mortgage payments.

Luckily, the Kermet Apio Commemorative Hawaii Quarter Advisory to the Advisory Commission Committee convened a few seconds ago. It has one member and no, there will NOT be a background check. Here are the final KACHQATTACC recommendations:

1). A can of SPAM
We have great health care!
2). Two people shaking hands
“What school you went?”

3). A Nene Goose wearing slippers

Can’t fly, can’t swim. Your eagle scares us.
4). Dog the Bounty Hunter
He is NOT Hawaiian
5). A traffic jam
You should use this quarter to take the bus.
6). A bayonette
Hawaii, the reluctant state

7). A slipper hovering above a cockroach

Who needs Raid?
8). A huge guy laying on a couch
We’re not lazy, just tired from lunch.

Hawaii, if you need more suggestions I’m sure I can get the committee to meet again and throw out a few more gems. Oh, you’re welcome.

Remember when a quarter would buy something? When I was a kid (old guy alert), 25 cents would buy a candy bar, a manapua, a can of soda, a game of Pac Man, and the silence of kid who saw you throwing water balloons from the classroom roof. Today all a quarter will buy you is a jawbreaker or a David Hasselhoff CD. In Hawaii, it buys you nothing.

So in two years we’ll see which design they choose. In mid-2008, the Alaska quarter will be released. Look for a drunken bear throwing salmon at a cruise ship. Then Hawaii will complete the set and many collectors will breathe that sigh of despair as they realize all they have is enough money to see a movie and a piece of cardboard with 50 holes in it. So don’t be surprised in the fall of ’08 if my Mom goes through your pockets. You’ve been warned.

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