I don’t think the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce is going to be a big fan of Saturday Night Live‘s sketch about two disgruntled employees (guest host Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson” and cast member Fred Armisen) who are not in the mood to be entertaining tourists in a restaurant on Kauai. The Rock dances in a “traditional” style while Armisen strums the ukulele, and both of them chat up the vacationing diners. When a pair of honeymooners tells the bitter duo how lucky they are to live in such a peaceful place, Armisen responds: “Peaceful? Yes it’s very peaceful here in your oceanfront resort. My brother and I live 15 miles inland. There’s a rusty pickup truck with weeds growing out of it — that’s our house.”
Sadly, there’s more than a grain of truth to that. I went the island of Hawaii, aka the Big Island, a few years ago (on my honeymoon, no less) and was I struck by the poverty of the locals when we drove around the island and away from the resorts. As we listened to the radio on our drives — which were incredible because the Big Island encompasses every type of terrain except for tundra — it seemed like every other commercial was a public service announcement about the dangers of meth. But while Hawaiians have every right to be bitter about the development of their land while they get left behind economically, they are among the friendliest and most hospitable people I have ever met. I certainly didn’t encounter anyone like these two, although I did find this sketch very funny.