March 1, 2012 | Vol. 42 No. 8

Commentary

Former Alaska state Sen. Jan Faiks once made headlines with a remark, concerning a legislative junket to Hawaii, that “Waikiki is no picnic.”

The statement was a spectacular leap from the truth, impressive even among politicians, who specialize in such jumps and hold most of the distance records.

After three weeks in Hawaii, it’s hard for me to say just what part of Waikiki, or Hawaii for that matter, is not a picnic. The air there is warm. The sand is soft. All the elements of a successful picnic – an umbrella drink and a dab of sunblock – are close at hand.

There’s a reason most of the world’s population is located near the equator: It’s where we’re from. We’re tropical animals, born without fur or layers of blubber to protect us from cold. We like fruit to fall at our feet and to take naps in the sunshine.

Our ancestors did not venture north because they enjoyed skiing. They came for resources, which were abundant enough to provide for a living. So they learned to sew furs together and to keep a fire burning and they “conquered” the North in much the same way that a flea, finding a soft spot to nestle, conquers a dog.

We can survive here, sometimes comfortably. But it’s not Waikiki, and it’s no picnic. As for statements by newcomers, environmentalists and brochure writers, sometimes so carried away as to call our home “paradise,” a thought from a snowbird friend comes to mind: No palm tree, no paradise. Aloha.