|LUCKY FOR YOU, I COULDN'T FIND A PICTURE THAT CAPTURES HOW DISGUSTING A HUNDRED GAZILLION MILLION TERMITES IN YOUR DINING ROOM LOOKS.|
Bright and early on Easter Sunday, my pre-teen son Andrew and I were confronted by this unsettling shock. The entire wall, (the sliding glass door that leads to our yard), was covered by these ubiquitous flying insects. Like a cartoon character running in place while in full-blown panic-mode, I was dumbfounded. Somehow, I had just enough smarts to chose against smooshing the uncountable legions or using the vacuum cleaner. Instead, I sought absolution in the form of bug spray…which we were unfortunately out of. The daunting ordeal of tending to this biblically proportioned pestilence worsened when I left everything lie while my boy and I ran out, (temporarily abandoning the house), in search of the proper insecticide.
That's when the situation went off on a farcical tangent as our new problem was finding a hardware store that was open on Easter Sunday. However, two neighborhoods and six hardware stores later, we found a place with the right stuff to stave off the plague…until we could call a professional the next day, to do a thorough job.
The reality of termites is not an embarrassment. It is merely an unpleasant part of day-to-day life. But unlike my Easter bout with termites, today’s blog is dedicated to an incredibly awkward moment in my life that also relates to Easter.
You might find this hard to believe but even with all the practice I get, I don’t embarrass easily. So when I tell you that I once became mortified due to the statues of Easter Islands, you’ll know what I'm about to tell you is truly a weird circumstance.
Thirty years ago, a big part of the embarrassment was that the statues at Easter Island were not universally known. Overwhelmingly, people can imagine what the pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt look like or the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa…but the equally incredible statues on Easter Island…not so much.
In order to clarify the embarrassment, I'm going to get everyone on the same page. Easter Island is located in one of the most remote spots in the Pacific Ocean. Today it is administered to by the Chilean government (2182 miles away) but the nearest inhabited land mass are the Pitcairn Islands.
Experts estimate that a civilization of aboriginal “Rapa Nui” people settled on Easter Island a thousand years ago. Due to over-population, an infestation of Polynesian rats and deforestation, their society significantly dwindled prior to Europeans “discovering” it in 1722, (on Easter Sunday, hence the name).
The Europeans found a pocket of “backward” people (many of which were carted off and enslaved). What they also found were 887 monumental statues called “Moai.”
|(above) THREE EXAMPLES OF MOAI. THERE'S NO DEFINITIVE ANSWER TO HOW OR WHY THE RAPA NUI ACCOMPLISHED THEIR SPECTACULAR, MISSHAPEN STATUES.|
Today with the help of the Internet and cable TV, I would think that just about everyone would be familiar with at least, what these statues look like. (even if they weren’t curious how the primitive natives erected and arranged these colossal examples of artistic and spiritual splendor). But they still don’t.
In 1986, my wife Sue and I had out-of-town visitors (who I soon found out) were clueless to Easter Island and everything relating to it. Maybe, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
This couple and Scotty (their five-year old son) stayed over two nights, in a casino/hotel. On a beautiful spring day, (the Thursday after Easter Sunday), Sue and I met them. We all cruised the Atlantic City boardwalk, browsed through schlock stores and wound up in the Showboat Casino's pizzeria.
This eatery was fairly crowded. We felt lucky to find seats and waited for someone wipe down the table. Scotty and I were facing the service counter as Sue and the other couple enjoyed an ocean view. I was occupying Scotty with silliness as the three other adults became enrapt in a heavy conversation. Then an employee popped out from the kitchen and refilled some napkin holders. A minute later he was done and vanished again into the back room.
I interrupted the adult conversation, “Hey did you see that guy?” “What guy?” I said, “A kid (teenager) who works here has a misshaped head.” The group discounted my findings as nonsense and resumed their own brand of nonsense. I cut them off again, “You know the statues on Easter Island?” I can still hear the crickets that accompanied the blank stares I got from all three of them. "He looked just like one of them." I went on to describe these mysterious wonderments of mankind but none of them knew what I was talking about.
I caught the adult man’s ear but he was stuck in the misconception that I was talking about Easter. Even when I pushed harder to explain that it was an island named for the holiday, he pushed harder still, and soon took us off topic.
I accepted my failure to enlighten as a lost cause. So when the waitress came by, my mind was swimming in notions of cheesy deliciousness, pepperoni and mushrooms. The girl was running through their salad dressing choices when unknownst to me, the employee who I described, reappeared behind the counter. Scotty, (he’s thirty-three now and has no memory of this incident), jumped out of his chair, grabbed my arm, pointed at this poor teenager and shouted, “Steve! There’s the guy with funny shaped head.”
I wanted to crawl into a hole! Along with Sue and the other couple, the waitress, about sixty customers and the entire staff…including the kid, (who probably doesn’t get a minute’s rest from people staring at his disfigurement), I got the harshest dirty looks that screamed-out…YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!!!
I never felt so bad in my life. I wished for the miracle of rising-up, ascending from the depths of embarrassment and going through the roof. I looked beyond the adults at my table to our friends’ giggly son and murmured to no avail, “Beam me up Scotty.”
In keeping with the theme of miracles and ascensions, let's pause to consider the unfortunate fate of the passengers from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. At this point, I truly doubt any of them have survived this terrible, global puzzlement. Even worse, despite the obvious value in recovering the "black box," it's probably time to give up the active hunt. Of course the loved ones left behind should never give up hope but until something surfaces on its own...so barring divine intervention...or something that the international scientific community has overlooked, there's sadly nothing left to do.