Honolulu Lite


Sunday, December 23, 2001

A prayer to gambling’s
patron saint

God bless Honolulu Lite readers like Doug White, who saved my Christmas shopping from becoming a disaster by alerting me to an Internet Web site where I can order a key chain honoring Saint Cayetano, the patron saint of gamblers, for only $10.

Not only that, but also available on the Saint Cayetano site at is a Saint Cayetano "Casino Quality Poker Deck" for only $5.95, a prayer card for $3 or a pendant necklace for only nine bucks. What island gambler would not like to get decked out for the holidays in the entire Saint Cayetano ensemble before jetting off to Las Vegas to meditate on the manifest mysteries of doubling down on the dealers low card in an inspirational game of Black Jack or to send a silent prayer skyward before yanking on the handle of a "Wheel of Fortune" slot machine?

I'm a fairly religious guy and I know there are patron saints for all kinds of things, but I never knew that there was a patron saint of gamblers and that his name was Cayetano. Can anyone say "blessed irony?" (Since I've been known to simply make up stuff in this space from time to time, I better pause here to say that I am not inventing Saint Cayetano. He really existed. The Internet is awash with Web sites devoted to him.)

I have no idea if our own Gov. Ben Cayetano is any relation to Saint Cayetano, but I'm sure there are very few Hawaii residents who have not at least once been struck by the governor's saint-like qualities. Like Saint Cayetano, our guy came from humble beginnings, rising to a position of trust and respect to do good works for the downtrodden, especially if they are members of the Hawaii Downtrodden Employees Association or some similar union-sanctified outfit known to shower alms into the campaign collection plate.

According to biblical scribes, Saint Cayetano is sought after by believers who want wealth, particularly gamblers. Talk about chicken skin. Ben Cayetano also is sought by those who want wealth, not the least of which was a large casino developer who spirited him to the Bahamas to discuss (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) "aquariums."

Our Cayetano finally admitted that establishing casino gambling in Hawaii was discussed at this fish-based spiritual retreat, which drove Hawaii pro-gambling adherents to fits of rapture. Could it be? Could Gov. Cayetano become the patron saint of Hawaii gamblers? While not speaking in parables, the governor has been a bit vague in conveying to the masses his position on legalized gambling. He was against it, then wasn't, then was, then wasn't and somewhere in there was sort of for some kind of it. Then he was for a single casino in Kona on the Big Island or in Ko Olina in the boondocks of Oahu or maybe neither of those places.

It might be easier to count the number of angels on the head of a pin or poke a camel in the eye with a needle than to pin down Ben on gambling. But island gamblers and casino developers can appeal to Saint Cayetano for divine intervention to inspire HIS namesake to cause the faithful to RISE UP and approve gambling in Hawaii.

Sure, it's a long shot bet. But, brothers and sisters, with the aid of a Saint Cayetano lapel pin (only $3! -- plus shipping and handling) miracles can happen.

Alo-Ha! Friday compiles odd bits of news from Hawaii
and the world to get your weekend off to an entertaining start.
Charles Memminger also writes Honolulu Lite Mondays,
Wednesdays and Sundays. Send ideas to him at the
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210,
Honolulu 96813, phone 235-6490 or e-mail

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