Aloha Oe

Sam and I were discussing the song "Aloha Oe" (as sung with ukelele). It was on Sam's mind, as he had spent the entire afternoon captive in his office while a beginning ukelele ensemble strummed away in the immediate hallway. He came home understandably rattled, and I, upon hearing the reason why, immediately favored him with my own interpretation—which, as I've never actually learned the song or seen it written, consists solely of the words "Alo, ha, Oe!" sung over and over in successively more sloping vibrato. Accompanied by vaguely hulatic hip movements.

I consider myself something of an expert on the hellishness of "Aloha Oe." My friend Rachael and I, when we were housemates in college, had a practice of surprising each other with renditions of the Hawaiian favorite, slinking out from around dark corners in the dead of night and crooning it in low and throbbing tones.

Having exhausted my singing voice, I expressed the opinion to Sam that the song "Aloha Oe," while sufficiently horrifying en ukelele, became so much the BETTER when sung very slowly, with a sort of scooping voice-dip between the syllables: "A-loe, hhhha, hhooooi." (I demonstrated.) Sam returned his own opinion that singing it that way was one of the worst things I'd ever done. I said that, on the contrary, it was SO bad that it went all the way back around the circle to "good"—whereupon Sam said it was so excessively bad that it went PAST good, all the way back to BAD again. I had to concede he might have a point.

I then asked if anything ever was so VERY extremely bad that it went all the way past bad, to good, back to bad, and then BACK to good? Sam said he didn't know, and I speculated that at that point it probably disappeared beyond the event horizon and that's what made it so hard to know.

These are the kinds of conversations we have, people.

1 comment

  1. How is it I am completely unfamiliar with Aloha oe? I mean, growing up, we had a ward luau (sp?) every year for crying out loud. How??

    In any case this gave me a good chuckle. AND, I think I might have almost experienced once or twice something so terrible and somehow good that it surely had to circle through twice.

    Lastly, it makes me very happy to actually see your face. More of that please!


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