Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hawaii Freaking HATES Lips. Straight Up LOATHES Them.

I have been to Hawaii twice in my life. If I ever go again, the entire time I'm there I'm going to wear a hockey mask and carry a machete. Being mistaken for a serial killer is a price I will gladly pay to protect my face from their foliage, which, innocent though most foliage be, poses more of a threat to our national security than Bin Laden, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, and your mother combined. Let me explain why.

I was no more than knee high to a midget when I had my first run in with the deadly spike flail tree of ultimate horror (probably not the scientific name, but accurate all the same.) There I was, young, idealistic, and, like most children of my age, completely unaware of the malevolent nature of trees.

Picture, if you will, a small blonde haired idiot dancing merrily through some tall grass, kicking butterflies and trying to tag his sister. Suddenly, he disappears, and when he stands up, he is spurting blood from his upper lip like some sort of macabre fountain.

From my point of view it went something like this: "La de dah *kick* la dah de dah *almost tag* la la de *trip on evil bit of long grass that intentionally wrapped itself around my ankle* *FREAKING THORN COVERED LOG HEADED TOWARD MY FACE* AAAAAAH *impact*."

A thorn went all the way through my lip. I had to wear a massive patch of gauze that made me look like the rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

On the plus side, I got my lip pierced when I was five. There's not many people that can say that.

I still have the scar. I'll show you sometime, if you'd like.

Now, a single, isolated incident does not necessarily mean that Hawaii has a vendetta against every lip on every person in the whole world, including the babies. But I'm not done with my story.

I went back to Hawaii years later. One morning, at around five oclock, my father and I had this conversation.

"Hey, Luke, want to go bike down a volcano?"

"Not right now, Dad, I'm having a nightmare."

"You're awake. How can you be having a nightmare?"

"It's a horrible nightmare, Dad. Somebody is trying to wake me up to go and bike down a volcano at five oclock in the morning, while I'm on vacation."

"Very funny. Get up. We're going to go on a bike ride, down a volcano."

"See? It's one of the worst nightmares I've ever had."

"You have until the count of three, and then I'm getting a large amount of very cold water, and you won't like what happens next."

"If I didn't have a choice in the matter, why did you even bother asking?"

"Because I'm nice, and like you to have the illusion of free will sometimes."

Anyway, we rent some bikes and drive to the top of this volcano. I'm in a sort of nether realm where I keep fading in and out of consciousness. Sometimes it's just a normal volcano, and sometimes it's mount doom, or a massive dragon spewing smoke into the atmosphere. My dad is happily chatting the whole way up, and his banal conversation forms a sort of discordant soundtrack to my delirium.

When we reach the top, we climb on the bikes and begin down.

Immediately I realize that we've made a terrible mistake. We're biking over volcanic rock that's sharp enough to make falling extremely uncomfortable, but not quite sharp enough to puncture the tires, which means I can't call off our ride down due to an equipment malfunction. That's a shame, but at least it wasn't that steep.


At first we're above the point where plants can grow, but as we make our way down, more and more foliage starts to appear. Soon, we're biking through a veritable forest, at an angle spider-man himself would have difficulty with.

Then, up ahead of me, I see my father disappear.

As it turns out, he braked a little too hard on his forward brake, rather than his rear, and ended up face planting into a tree.

Guess what kind of tree?

I had to pull the thorn out of his lip, which would have been a switch, had he pulled the thorn out of mine all of those years ago. He hadn't, but wouldn't that have been awesome? I did my "I told you so" dance when we got to the bottom.

I like to think that the tree trunk I had taken a spill on all those years ago had stood up and slowly climbed a volcano, waiting for my return. Fortunately, it missed me. This time.

And that's why, the next time I go to Hawaii, I'm taking a machete with me.

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