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Dedicated to All the dreamers in the world
Submitted by Elliott
Jerry Kanoho was cursed. His curse? He was a dreamer.
Jerry and his wife Susie owned a small souvenir shop in Waikiki, Hawaii. It was bigger than some other shops, smaller than several. It was a totally average, nice little souvenir shop and they were perfectly nice, respectable people who made a perfectly respectable, nice profit and led a perfectly nice, respectable life. But Jerry wanted more. What? He didn't know. Just…more.
He knew he'd never be President of the U.S. or Governor of Hawaii or even City Councilman. He couldn't sing or write poetry or surf at a championship level. He had a warm smile that was genuine and a disposition that was pleasant and cheerful. But he also had an itch, somewhere deep down in his brain, that said to him, "Jerry Kanoho, you deserve recognition!"
Very often, while Susie was taking care of three customers at a time, Jerry would be resting his arms on the counter, gazing out at the Pacific Ocean, and thinking his meandering thoughts. What would make Jerry Kanoho famous? What would take this little shop—because this shop was what he had, and whatever he was going to do had to come from here—and make it, if not world-famous, at least state-famous? Could he grow the world's largest pineapple? No: what did he know about pineapples? Find the world's largest clam? No, the Hawaii Maritime Center had some doozies, retrieved by professional divers, which he sure wasn't. The world's largest…? The world's largest…?
Aha! He had it!
Ralph Kramden would have been proud of the way Jerry got Susie to agree to let him take all the money out of their savings account. He begged; he pleaded; he wept. "Alice, ya gotta give me the money!" Ralph would say, and Alice would always refuse him. Susie wouldn't accommodate him, especially because he wouldn't tell her what he wanted to use the money for. But he worked on her, swore to her he had a terrific idea, promised her that he'd be able to take her to Hawaii…uh, New York…with the profits from his idea. Please, please, please, please…until finally she gave in and put her signature next to his on a withdrawal slip.
The first thing Jerry did was rent a piece of beachfront—an expensive piece of beachfront. Then he put up a canvas sheet around his eighth-acre of sand, to keep prying eyes away. With the rest of the money he bought orchids and other flowers, and supersized pipe cleaners and grasses and strings and beads and all kinds of materials. He went into his large tent night after night, and came home shortly before dawn, his fingers sore and blistered. He wouldn't tell Susie what he was up to, only that it would be something.
Finally, weeks later, Jerry plastered the hotels along the waterfront with flyers announcing the unveiling of something wonderful and spectacular at noon tomorrow. At the appointed hour, about a hundred curious tourists and two reporters had gathered in front of his little canvas wall. "Ladies and gentlemen!" Jerry announced to the crowd. "Courtesy of the Little Starfish Gift Shoppe…I present--!"
With a flourish he tore down the canvas sheet, to reveal a round circle of flowers, jewels, geegaws and gimcracks, lying glistening and fragrant on the sand, its diameter fully a hundred feet across. "The world's largest—" Jerry began, but before he could finish his sentence the crowd turned their backs and started walking away. A few were impolite enough to give a quiet Bronx cheer or utter a "psssh." The better-mannered just shook their heads and perhaps chuckled at the grandiose scheme of a fool.
Jerry stood there looking at his creation for a long time. He finally sensed someone behind him: it was Susie, and she had his suitcase, his pillow and his blanket in her arms
She thrust them at him. "Here," she said, hissing at him through the most angry expression he had ever seen on her face. "You made your lei, now bed in it."