Goddess mug shot The Goddess Speaks

Keisha Poiro

Time is ripe to hone
celebrity skills

I am a literary goddess. And just what separates me, the glitterati wheat, from the clock-punching chaff? My previous column in the Star-Bulletin plus an online columnist gig have rocketed me to celebrity status, though largely in my own mind. But why split hairs? All that's missing is the stylish man-whore/boyfriend, decadent birthday bash and Maxim spread. To prepare myself for celebrity outside of Honolulu, I had to learn a few things the hard way. Budding icons take note.

First, I mastered the art of the cheek kiss. Then, I learned to navigate while wearing wraparound sunglasses indoors and changed my name. But, peculiarities and idiosyncrasies alone are not enough. Normal people have to feel compelled to cater to these quirks. I'd work on that later.

As luck would have it, I found an article outlining the finer points of the cheek kiss. I honed this useful skill on a few of my bewildered co-workers and the girl who works the deli counter at Foodland. It didn't go over too well the first couple of times, but I figured a mutual comfort level would evolve over time.

Next thing: the sunglasses. Normal people wear sunglasses for obvious reasons. Not so with us celebrities. We hide behind them, convinced our entire face is obscured. I went out and bought the most expensive pair of Bono shades I could find and practiced looking morose.

And what of the name change? My real name was common and unimaginative. Who cares from which club Keisha emerged pissy drunk or which assistant Keisha fired or who Keisha was slapping around in public? I needed a name that bespoke of the cultural icon I was rapidly becoming. A David Bowie fan since conception, Jean Jeannie was the natural choice (well, either that or China Girl, but the latter was inappropriate on at least one level). I hurried to my local Kinko's and ordered the cutest business cards trumpeting the change. I mean, what's the use of changing your name if nobody knows, right?

MARIAH HAD HER butterflies. Pamela had her floatation devices, but I still needed a trademark. Resolved: I would buy 10 kiwi fruit at Foodland every morning. I'd figure out the significance later. If no kiwi were available, I would pout, throw frozen meat in the aisles and refuse to accept substitutions. My first morning, I arrived at Foodland complete with shades. Unfortunately, the glass door opened a hair too late, and I cracked my nose on the steel frame. But the deli napkin held to my face only enhanced the mystery, almost as if I'd had secret reconstructive surgery.

Unfortunately, I ended up with 10 peaches because I couldn't tell the difference in the dark. I overpaid the cashier because I couldn't distinguish between a $10 and a $20 bill.

The cashier lady watched me, lips pursed and disdain written in her wrinkles. Mission accomplished, I thought as I walked slowly to my car. I am a mystery. I am a celebrity.

A few kiwi purchases later, the cashier lady finally spoke up. "You come here every morning. What you need all them fruit for? What you do for work?"

"I'm a writer," I answer nonchalantly, if not a little louder than necessary. Mission definitely accomplished. The next day, I overdrew my Bankoh account and rented a stretch black Escalade and set out for Ala Moana to meet my public.

On the way downtown, I made small talk with the driver. He was a grad student studying psychology. He even offered me a free evaluation. I handed him a freshly printed business card: "Jean Jeannie -- Columnist, Freelance Writer."

He told me Jean Jeannie sounded like a porn star and that he would definitely give me a call (wink-wink). I grinned a wooden grin, suppressed the urge to vomit and dumped the rest of the cards in the garbage posthaste.

At Ala Moana my favorite shop girl chirped out her greeting, and I smiled like a maniac, finger-waving like a fiend, and sang, "Kimberly! How's it going?" Before she could object, I grabbed her and cheek-kissed her. The other patrons appeared stunned. A couple of girls whispered behind their hands, "Who's she?" treating me to that duplicitous look of intrigue and contempt they teach in middle school. By the time I brought my armful of sale merchandise to the counter, I had the store manager eating out of my hand. Niceties and discounts were showered upon me. My bill came to more than $500, but what I spent was more than recouped in store discounts and the love-hate relationship I was already building with the public.

Five hours later, I was literally and figuratively spent. My ride home was spent deep in thought. By the time my driver pulled into my driveway, I had come to a hard realization. I would never have Jennifer Lopez's singing voice (thank God) or Celine Dion's perfume (who wants to smell like her anyway?), but I could still be a local celebrity, earning my following the old-fashioned way.

I would start by nixing the fruit excursions. I would also pretend a little harder to listen when my boss talks to me. A week ago, I wanted so badly to taste the notoriety and perks fame had to offer. But, having been there, it only tastes like rotten kiwi.

Keisha Poiro is a Honolulu-based writer
who's overdue for her 15 minutes of fame.

The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and
about women. If you have something to say, write
"The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813;
or e-mail


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