Wisdom Through Humor
Before There Was Television There Was Mud

There is something about mud. Children love it. Give a kid a bucket of mud and plastic toy and the child will choose the mud. There is something magical about mud. Silly Putty and commercial slime are a poor substitute.

Mud might be some kind of restorative. People pay lots of money to sit in it at expensive retreats. Pure mud is hard to find these days. You know the kind of mud that does not smell like rotten eggs. The kind that uniformly extrudes from between your fingers and toes. The kind of mud that sort of urges you to be its friend and play with it.

In Hawaii, before there was the ubiquitous infa-red remote to cable, VCR, CD player, and video games, mud was a cherished playmate and social lubricant.

Playing in the mud or "mud sliding" used to be a very common outing experience for young people. T-shirts, bare feet, and cutoff jeans would be the uniform of the day. Some of the mud runs were 100 feet long. A branch of Ti leaves was held between the legs and sat upon as the person slid down the muddy hill, usually into a great pond of mud. It was a way to get to know some one they "admired." It is hard to be someone you are not when you are covered in mud. Maybe that is why it is hard to stop grinning when one is covered in mud.

In Hawaii, Kimo's friend might say to Lani's friend, "Eh, ya know Kimo really admires Lani." Lani's friend would so inform her. If Lani was interested she would show up for the mud slide. Lani and Kimo would not say much to one another. Instead, they would observe how one another played. After the mud slide, the group would go to a nearby stream or pond to un-mud.

A thick stand of trees or a cave would be a spot to make a fire and eat Spam and rice and drink "Soda." At this point informal eye contact would be made. Kimo would do a quick "Double eyebrow lift." If Lani responded in kind, it meant that she was quite amenable to a date. If it was a "Single eyebrow lift." it meant that she might be amenable. If no response other than a slight smile, it meant, "No thank you." Winking, was the province of those girls that were fast on their back and usually not practiced in a group setting.

Today, most of the access to mud sliding is diminished by gated communities and deforestation. But the mud memories linger on.

Today, if one asks a long-married couple if they met while mud sliding, the answer is frequently, "Yes, how'd you know that." Shared mud makes for long marriages.




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