Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Lee Cataluna
Making sense of kind acts

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Columnist

Something's amiss. Askew. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's there, perceptible, almost a smell in the air like somebody's burning their steak and onions five houses away.

Today is "Random Acts of Kindness Day," part of "Random Acts of Kindness Week." An official designated week and even a specific day to commit random acts of kindness takes away much of the randomness, though it's still a nice idea.

I called the local office of the international kindness organization and was told, somewhat unkindly, that everyone was out, no one there could answer my questions and there were no other contact numbers.

What's up with that?

Case No. 2: The list of businesses offering special deals to visitors through the Hawai'i Value Pass program has grown appreciably in the past several weeks. There's some cool stuff there, like a 20 percent discount on a dress at Cinnamon Girl.

There's some other stuff like a free magnet or postcard from King's Village and a free eelskin key holder with a $30 eelskin purchase. Tourists dig that stuff, I guess. But the first item listed on the O'ahu retail and services section of the Hawai'i Value Pass Web site is for 10 percent off towing services.

Is it just me or is that an odd thing to offer a tourist?

Then there were the black bags of rubbish lining H-1 from Waipahu to Kapolei during the weekend, obviously from a good-doing, rubbish-picking politician and his supporters. We're supposed to appreciate the effort, but I can't help but snicker at the symbolism. Would you want your name on a bag of garbage on the side of the road?

And finally, I offer up a story spotted recently on a local 10 p.m. newscast.

Marcel Marceau, the famous mime, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Hawai'i. The video showed Marceau receiving a maile lei, walking up to the podium, leaning into the microphone, taking a breath to speak and then ... That was it. No sound bite. Somebody finally gets the dude to say something, and they cut the piece for time.

I keep looking for explanations, like the planets are misaligned or it's the Year of the Snake starting to molt, or maybe it's because we're woozy from being scared to death for two months.

Or maybe we've become a culture of people who let things slide, people who don't bother with fine-tuning and details. We expect things to not be as advertised.

Do something kind today, OK? Random or planned. Whatever. Give a hungry guy a sandwich, don't buy him a greeting card expressing sympathy for his hunger. Maybe that's too simplistic a way to put it, but I think we need to remind ourselves to make sure our efforts make sense, because, I swear there's something going on out there.

Lee Cataluna's column runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Reach her at 535-8172 or lcataluna@honolulu advertiser.com