Honolulu Lite

Charles Memminger

Vacation was soggy,
inside and out

I return from a few weeks of vacation relaxed and energized; as relaxed and energized as anyone could be who had been forced on a 100-mile death march fueled by cheap white wine, excessively fatty foods and enough sugar to rot the teeth out of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays. It is in jest that I equate them with a 100-mile death march. Well, not exactly jest. What's the word that sounds like jest but means agonizing, brutal honesty?

This was one of the few vacations where I did absolutely, positively and entirely no column writing. Except for my Sunday columns. Those just seeped out, like little drops of bad taste after you've turned off the creative spigot.

So, vacation's over and my liver, spleen and other major organs are happy about it. I figure a few weeks on a low diet of thin gruel and barley water will call them back to their duty, or at least 50 percent of their operating capacity.

As I was writing that sentence, I received a call from -- I swear on a stack of empty Pepto Bismol bottles -- United States Senior Judge Sam King wondering if I had been hit by a truck and, if not, why hasn't my column been running. To that question, I was going to "take the fifth" but thought it might confuse my already saturated innards so I explained to the judge that I had merely been on vacation and if he knew any good medical internists I'd be grateful.

It says something about vacations when you can't go on one without federal judges thinking you've croaked. It's nice to hear from people during holidays, except when they call to say things like, "My God, man, are you all right? We thought you were in a coma or on a 100-mile death march or something."

IN TRUTH, I spent much of the vacation under my house, digging trenches, building redoubts and running a myriad of pumps (i.e. submersible, sump, bilge) to keep the old homestead from floating away in the sprinkling of moisture that blessed the islands in recent weeks. I'm not even sure what a "myriad" is, but if your life, limb and comfy chair depend on a "myriad of pumps," and you don't live on a boat, it's probably a bad thing.

I wom't forget the horror of KITV Weatherperson/Meteorologist/Mistress of Dark Tidings Kathy Muneno standing in front of a weather map showing none of the Hawaiian Islands. Instead, there was an enormous red blob which Kathy, smiling, reported was a satellite photo of "rain" while assuring us that the islands were under that red monster . Indeed. The crimson behemoth had gobbled up the island chain hook, line and Kaneohe.

And why not? What's a vacation without massive flooding and wanton destruction? As we dry out -- the islands and myself -- I can report that it is good to be back at work. If I consider taking another vacation anytime soon, I hope Judge King will intercede and prescribe incarceration, mittimus forthwith.

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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