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Nā Mana`o Ulu Wale

Random thoughts, casual observations and other bits of fluff

By Roger Close



January 2009

We have unfinished business from last month. Well, were you able to figure it out? Are you a member of the exclusive group of kama`āina, the 575/576 Club? Okay, let’s see.

If you were born and raised in Hawai`i, simply raised there, or raised there and had your first job in the islands, then you probably applied for your Social Security card in Hawai`i. Now here’s where it gets tricky. Prior to 1973, Social Security numbers were assigned by Social Security field offices. Back then, the first three digits of a person’s Social Security number indicated the state or U.S. possession in which the issuing field office was located.

Since 1973, Social Security numbers have been issued through their central office. The first three digits of a person’s Social Security number are determined by the ZIP Code of the mailing address on the Social Security number application.

Regardless of the year or field office v. central office, Hawai`i’s two assigned numbers have always been 575 and 576. Therefore, if the first three digits of your Social Security number are 575 or 576 you are in the club!

But wait, that’s not all…if you joined the club back in the territorial days you have “kupuna” status in the club. If you joined between 1959 and 1973, you have “youth” status. If you joined after 1973, your “central office” assignment makes you suspect and you must check in with the Sergeant at Arms! J

Unfortunately, being in “da club” doesn’t get you much, but it does allow you to smile, roll your eyes, and shake your head when the loud talking, obnoxious wannabees are name dropping in an attempt to impress all within ear-shot with their Hawaiian-ness.


Wow, Punahou School finally won a State Football Division I Tournament Championship! An Aloha Stadium crowd of 25,571 watched Punahou beat defending state champion Leilehua. In one amazing game, the Buffanblu broke out of the dim light of the old Honolulu Stadium and the fading memories of the old Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH).

What caught my attention was the size of the crowd. Back in the day when high school football was the biggest and best game in town, a crowd of 25,000+ in Honolulu Stadium was common place. At times, for ILH title games, like between Punahou and Kamehameha, as many as 30,000 crammed into the “termite palace,” which was supposed to hold 24,000. Amazing, when you consider O`ahu’s population back in the late 50’s and early 1960’s was half of today’s one million!


Could you sum up your life in six words? Many famous and everyday folks have done just that in the best-seller Not Quite What I Was Planning (Harper). The editors at Smith Magazine have recently revised the book and expanded it into a deluxe edition filled with hundreds of six-word phrases in which folks succinctly sum up their lives. A sample is Stephen Colbert’s, “Well, I thought it was funny.”

Summing up your life in just six words could be challenging, interesting, life changing, and/or surprising with an end result more honest than you ever expected. Okay, six words to sum up 64 years…let’s see. Alright…I’ve got my memoir! We’ll share next month.

Until then…mālama pono and Hau`oli Makahiki Hou! Here’s hoping your 2009 is one of legendary proportions with good health, happiness from the simple pleasures of life, and many new adventures.


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