The "Comedy Central Roast of Jeff Foxworthy" wasn't funny the first time I watched it that week.

And it wasn't funny the fourth time either.

But having no car in Honolulu severely limited my travel options. My brother generally slept until 8 p.m., and we spent the evenings at the hotel bar while he drank 20 beers and listened to Phil Collins. My parents fared better, and I could have gone with them to the tourist sites. But I missed my brother and wanted to spend time with him, even if it was watching him melt into a bar stool every night.

The only time he rose before dusk during the trip was to grab my shirt and ball his fist up when I screamed out in pain after dumping an entire pot of coffee on my arm. I had a red mark for two months. Hawaii has really good coffee.

We did eventually leave the hotel one evening.

"Hurray," I said as we hailed a cab. "Where are we going?"

"Titty bar."


I hate strip joints. They smell sad, and the music is terrible. My brother, however, made nice with one of the dancers, and she accompanied us to our hotel room where I promptly fell asleep. When I woke several hours later, both of them were sitting on the bed and looking at me expectantly.

"I'll go for a walk."

The shopping district near the hotel was fairly high end, and my shoulder-length hair and dirty sandals didn't fly at the Gucci store. The thrill was gone of walking into McDonalds to look at — and then not order — the spam on the menu. I bought a notebook at the hotel gift shop, walked to Waikiki Beach and sat down on a park bench to gather my thoughts.


I get into the zone when I'm writing, so this was jarring.


I looked up. It was two Honolulu police officers, both wearing shorts. They were both short, and they didn't seem happy.

"What's going on?" I asked, genuinely dumbfounded.

"You can't have your cart here at the beach, sir," the one on the right said.


"Yeah," the one on the left said. "That cart."

He pointed behind me. I turned my head and saw a shopping cart loaded with some homeless person's worldly possessions. I chuckled incredulously.

"Uh, that's not my cart, officer."

"You are telling us that is not your cart?" the one on the right said.

"That's what I'm telling you."

"Are you sure about that?" the one on the left said.

"Seriously, guys," I said, trying to keep my tone in check. "Have you ever seen a homeless person at a beach in Hawaii with a complexion this pale?"

About 10 seconds of sustained, deadly silence followed. I wonder if they have spam in jail here, I thought.

"You have a nice day," one of them said, and they turned around and stomped off.

"Ugh," I said to no one in particular.

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