Thursday, December 2, 2010


One of the perils of the job!

Well, you may think I am crazy, and after reading this it may be confirmed, but after a month in Hawaii I have found the need to pursue a higher purpose, or at least some purpose. To that end I have recently accepted a position as Senior Docent at Punuluu Beach Park. I am in charge of supervising Chelonia Mydas, or green sea turtles, with auxiliary responsibilities for spotting Megaptera novaeangilae or humpback whales.

How I came to accept this position is quite a story in itself. I accepted the position from none other than myself, as I created this position. Since I am the only person in this position, I am the longest serving person in this position; therefore, I am the Senior Docent. I didn’t know I would advance so rapidly when I developed this position yesterday, but I have always thought I was upwardly mobile. Currently there is no Junior Docent or even a Supervisor of Docents, so I have been extremely busy. I could move into a management position soon. The brainstorm for this position came from sitting on the beach at Punuluu watching the sea turtles come up to bask on the beach. I could relate to them on a cosmic, mystical level. I, too, would bask on the beach and when I got too warm I would head into the ocean to thermoregulate. I felt they needed an on-shore advocate as I watched, with horror, as too many banana hammock clad tourists would violate their and my personal spaces. That exposes my prejudice, that wearing a banana hammock in public violates everyone’s personal space. So, the turtles needed an advocate and I needed a job, well I didn’t need a job nor did I really want a job, but I needed a purpose and since I came to the beach to bask on a daily basis it was a match made in paradise.

The reason I needed a purpose stems from the fact that nearly everyone I have met here is retired or unemployed. I needed something to set me apart because, as I was both retired and unemployed, I felt I was becoming a statistic. I wasn’t an old fart crawling off the tourist bus to gawk at the black sand beach on my way to tonight’s authentic luau at the Sheraton-Hilton- Four Seasons-Marriot-Hawaiian Holiday Resort. Nor was I in the ranks of the unemployed who occupy the parking lot at the other end of the beach who drink beer, smoke gange, barbecue fish that they take from the ocean, and just hang out. Though I am probably closer to the latter than the former.

The position of Senior Docent and Supervisor of Docent Activity (see? I got a promotion already and only my third day on the job) is a work in progress. I am still working on my job description and list of duties. I haven’t yet scheduled the meeting to review and approve the job description with Senior Management, Labor Union representatives, Community Representatives, and the Budget oversight Committee, and I may just stonewall that meeting and block all progress until my demands for tax breaks for the top 2% of docents are met. But I digress. The job description includes a myriad of activities that I fulfill on a daily basis. I will detail these, but this is not a comprehensive list and my duties change daily depending on the level of need and interests. That is, my needs and my interests.

I answer questions, sometimes politely and other times filled with a full frontal Doddonian retort.
“Yes, the turtles are alive.” What did you think, they were dead and we were just waiting till lunchtime to throw one on the barbie?

“Yes, they move.” Did you think I went out in the water and hauled a 500-pound shell up here for you to photograph?

“Yes, they are asleep.” You would sleep too if you had to watch for 12-foot tiger sharks when you went out at night.

“No, they don’t bite.” They are herbivores and that melon on your shoulders that comes up with these stupid questions might make you a candidate for lunch.

Well, you get the picture.

I have to go to work now. I will continue this later. But, first I must go pack my lunch. Yes, I am a lunch pail toting docent headed to the salt mines for another grind. First, I must check to see that I am prepared with the tools necessary to fulfill my purpose. Beach chair, towel, crossword puzzle book, trashy novel, binoculars, camera, hat , sunscreen, lunch, and more.

It’s tough, but somebody has to do it.

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