Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Monday, April 2, 2001

Rainy days and bachi
always get me down

State legislators are cavalierly playing around with one of the greatest forces of nature: bachi.

Those of you new to the islands or just visiting might not understand the concept of bachi. Let me explain. Say you're watching a golf tournament on television and one of the players has an easy three-foot putt to win. As he lines up the putt, one of the announcers says, "Jim, this tournament is over. I've been covering professional golf for 25 years and I've NEVER seen Johnny Fiveiron miss from this distance." Then Johnny misses the hole by a mile, gets beaten in the sudden death play-off, loses all of his sponsors, files for bankruptcy and ends up running a broken down driving range in rural Texas. That's bachi.

Or, to put the word in the form of a verb, the announcer bachi'd the golfer by making such a bold, flat-out statement right at the most crucial moment in the vortex of quantum physics, suddenly shifting the cosmic paradigm that controls the Laws of Probability and other really advanced stuff like that. In other words, the idiot announcer hexed the golfer.

It's happened to all of us though we all don't call it bachi. In the old sailing days the captain might accidentally let it slip that "if the winds hold up we should be safely home tomorrow," thereby conjuring up a Force Five typhoon and putting all of his shipmates in peril.

One way to neutralize bachi is to simply to knock on wood after you've committed bachi or someone has committed it in your general vicinity. But you have to be fast.

I'm always on the lookout for bachi but even I screw up from time to time. I just went on a new health program and announced to my wife that I felt in better shape than I had in years. Seconds later, flu germs started pulsating through my body and I've been down for the last two days with a 102-degree fever.

There is such a thing as reverse bachi. For instance, if you are in your car and must be somewhere by a certain time, you will hit every red light. But if you are stopped at a red light and try to adjust your radio, light a cigarette, put in a CD or read an important document, the light suddenly will turn to green. So the way to reverse stop light bachi is, even if you don't smoke, keep a cigarette on hand so you can try to light it at intersections. It will make your trip a lot faster.

Now, the reason I say state lawmakers are fooling around with the forces of bachi is because they seem intent on raiding the state's "Rainy Day Fund" and the hurricane insurance fund in order to pay $400 million in pay raises being demanded by public unions.

As Gomer Pyle might have said, "Bachi! Bachi! Bachi!" Trust me, as soon as that money is moved into the general fund, we will have 40 days and nights of rain. Any building left standing will be wiped out by a hurricane, the likes of which we have never seen. Please don't move that money. I don't think there's enough knocking-wood in Hawaii to protect us from bachi on this level.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802
or send E-mail to

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