Honolulu Lite

Charles Memminger

Names were
a mouthful at
this luncheon

So, I was having lunch with Gov. Linda Lingle the other day, and ... well, we didn't actually have lunch. We were at a lunch with a couple of other people, actually about 150 people, which, come to think about it, means it was more of a luncheon than lunch. I believe the rule is that if more than nine people sit down together for a midday meal, it transforms from a lunch to a luncheon, unless it happens before 11:30 a.m., in which case it is a brunch.

I haven't been to many brunches. All I know is that they aren't quite breakfast and they aren't quite lunch, and there's usually a piece of cantaloupe involved. (I suppose if you had a lot of people brunching with you, it would become a bruncheon, but you rarely hear of those.)

I imagine brunch was invented by an enormously overweight individual who couldn't quite get through that 45-minute period between the official breakfast and lunch times without eating. Or maybe he just had a hankering for cantaloupe. It makes you wonder, though, why no one invented a meal that combines lunch and dinner. (Linner: It's not quite lunch and it's not quite dinner, and it involves a couple of shots of bourbon in a tall glass with a maraschino cherry.)

I DON'T KNOW how I got off on this luncheon-bruncheon-linner thing, but we sure left the governor back there in the dust. Let's see ... I was at a luncheon with Gov. Lingle at Washington Place to honor advocates for children and youths. I was the master of ceremonies, a position that allows you to mangle the pronunciation of names of important people in front of a large crowd of their family and friends.

I almost introduced state Rep. Dennis Arakaki as Joe Arakaki, an assistant city editor at this paper 20 years ago and whose name inexplicably popped into my brain milliseconds before the introduction. It was one of those lovely moments when time stops, you can hear your heart pounding in your chest, sweat beads up on your forehead and if you had a small, silver revolver, you would gladly use it on yourself.

Gov. Lingle and Lt. Gov. "Duke" Aiona spoke flawlessly and elegantly, using few notes and, well, what a couple of showoffs. Not that they were intentionally trying to make me look bad, as if I need help in that department. It was just one of those times when it seems that the world is a tuxedo and you are a pair of brown shoes -- a pair of sweating, fidgety, nerve-wracked brown shoes.

The one name I didn't screw up was Richard Griggs, an ROTC instructor at Nanakuli High School who was named Advocate of the Year for 2003. It's great to know that people like Griggs and the other awardees are out there quietly and humbly working on behalf of all of our future educators, business leaders, senators, representatives, lieutenant governors, governors and, God help them, masters of ceremonies. Man, is it time for linner yet?

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. E-mail


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