Natural Selections

Jul 25, 2001

Erin gave me a coupon for a discounted massage months ago, and I finally cashed it in today, using it for an hour-long massage. The therapist massaged out muscle knots and soothed my sore arms from my months of computer work—I have horrible posture and a bad tendency to rest my forearms on the desk when I’m at the computer. I’m looking forward to a more active lifestyle in North Carolina, where I’ll balance my Internet time with outdoor activities. As soon as Anna is big enough for the baby jogger, she and I will hit the roads.

Another form of therapy for me is to be around my mentors. After my massage today I went to lunch with my friend John Ettorre (he’s the one that drove to Chicago to attend Frank the Beachcomber’s funeral), who always amazes me with the breadth of his readings and his quick recall of facts and figures and memories. We ate at the same Chinese restaurant that we’d visited back in 1994, when I returned to Cleveland from Hawaii. John was encouraging me then and he continues to inspire me today.

Another former editor and mentor, Bill Harby, came to mind today when I received the quarterly magazine Island Scene in the mail. Island Scene is the first magazine I wrote for, and Bill taught me some important journalism and work lessons. Since 1993 he’s written a column for the magazine called Natural Selections”. This chronicles his hikes and forays into the grandeur of Hawaii’s valleys and peaks and forests. Click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to read his most recent column. I want to write as fluidly and familiarly as Bill someday.

I was also pleasantly surprised to read in Island Scene an article about mango allergies. Mangoes give me horrible rashes on my face, and when I left for the Peace Corps, a physician had warned me never to eat another mango. So I spent two years on an island with the most lush mango trees, agonizing that I couldn’t eat the luscious fruit for fear of dying from anaphylactic shock. Whenever the rains drenched Paama, the islanders gathered under the cathedral-like mango trees to sit and chat, but I had to hold an umbrella over my head because the mist dripping through the mango leaves would give me an annoying rash the next day. From reading the mango article in Island Scene, I now know that I could have enjoyed the mangoes to my heart’s content while on Paama … though I still would have had to look like a quirky American holding an umbrella while everyone around me enjoyed nature’s umbrella.

Anton Zuiker

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