WHILE I was defending Hawaii's honor from an attack by an Oregon newspaper writer who questioned the state's patriotism, yet another columnist was taking pot shots at us.
One more columnist
fires at Hawaii
This writer was David Grimes of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune who belittled the quality of our sharks compared to the tenacity of Florida sharks. He also showed a hint of cultural insensitivity by making fun of poi.
I know David Grimes. I sang karaoke with him once in a little motel lounge in Long Boat Key. We weren't on a date or anything. I was there for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists convention, and when a bunch of columnists get together, beer and karaoke aren't far behind. What made that session of karaoke interesting was that the lounge had no karaoke machine. The song lyrics were written out on poster-sized sheets of paper, displayed on an easel next to the "band," which I believe was named "The Two Crackers."
I've always admired Grimes, who is a talented writer, but also felt sorry for him being a humor columnist in Florida, "The Dave Barry State." But he handles the situation with dignity and good humor, like the manager of a Goofy Golf putting arcade across the street from Disney World.
I was born in Tampa, just a few brush fires away from Sarasota, so I feel entitled to offer occasional constructive criticism, especially when it comes to remarks like "Florida is just like Hawaii -- only closer." To that, I've pointed out that we don't have to screen in our yards so as not to be devoured by mosquitoes when we venture outside, that Florida seems to suffer from a persistent flammability condition and that sharks there appear incapable of properly attacking someone.
GRIMES INEXPLICABLY took offense to those observations and savagely attacked Hawaii and me in a recent column.
Grimes said that I had a lot of nerve calling his state "dysfunctional" considering I once ran a 6.7-mile race after eating a 7-Eleven cheeseburger. I'm surprised that Grimes would stoop to such an outrageous falsehood. Check the record, Dave, I WALKED that 6.7 miles.
I admit that I might have engaged in creative hyperbole when I said the entire state of Florida was on fire last summer. Grimes correctly points out that at no time was more than 90 percent of the state aflame. He said you have to expect exaggeration from a writer in a state where "poi is considered food." Hah. Hardly anyone in Hawaii considers poi a food.
As far as sharks go, Grimes points out that Florida had more shark attacks than any state in the country. Hawaii was well down the list, tied with Alabama, Texas and, I think he said, North Dakota.
I refuse to engage in such pettiness. We should be pulling together as a country, not hurling insults at other states, even if those states consider alligator hide fashion apparel.
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