Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"If Only We Had Waited a Little Longer"

One of life's supreme ironies lies in our feeble, human efforts to figure out exactly why things happen in our world, and we will go to absurd extremes to assign "reasons" for them.

I was in college when a bunch of us bohemian, art students were sitting around at a friend's apartment, drinking cheap wine at and watching one of those South Sea Hollywood movies, so popular back in the 50's and 60's

In this one, a ship crashes on the reef of South Pacific island, and a White man, half-drowned, is rescued by a tribe of Natives. He is dragged to safety and slowly nursed back to life. Neither he nor the primatives understand one another's languages.

When his health returns, he quickly catches the eye of the beautiful, luscious, dark-skinned Chief's daughter, who has been his nurse throughout his ordeal. She, of course is also taken by this handsome, mysterious White Man, but the Chief makes no bones about the unspoken edict that he is not to mess around with his precious child, since both are from two different worlds. Regardless, their passions get the best of them and they sneak embraces and forbidden smooches in the bushes behind the coconut trees.

One day, the dormant volcano on the island suddenly erupts, and the Natives go berserk! The castaway looks with wonder at the mayhem. The Chief calls an emergency town house meeting, but all their banter is but gibberish to him. Suddenly, the daughter approaches the father and he looks deeply into her eyes, then at rolls his eyes toward the volcano. As she bows her head submissively, the significance of glance and the body language slowly dawns on the White Man: She will be sacrificed to quell the anger of the volacano!! He rushes towards her, in an effort to stop this primitive madness, but the villagers quickly subdue and lashed him to a coconut tree.

With tears in her eyes, as she obediently makes her way up the volcano, she looks down passionately at him. He lunges towards her, but to no avail! The beating drums begin to reach a crescendo. Higher and higher up the slope she edges. This is madness!! When she reaches the cone, it is furiously sputtering molten lava high into the skies, and she gazes longingly, one final time, at her forbidden lover below. "No! No! No!!" He cries. But it is too late. She leaps into the volcano and a gigantic plume emerges. In moments, the volcano emits one last belch... and subsides! The White man collapses in shock.

There is a long and awkward silence in the room. Suddenly, one of my buddies mumbles, "God, if only she had waited five minutes more, maybe the volcano woulda' stopped by itself!!!"
 Like the volcano, we all erupt in laughter and roll around on the dirty carpet until our stomachs hurt."What a waste," someone else mutters and we all explode into laughter again.

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