Judged By My Cover

This month, I’ve had the honor of being asked to be a judge for two prestigious pageants. The first was Miss Oahu Filipina 2013 and the second was for Miss Hawaii 2013. They were exactly one week apart, and so I write this having done the Miss Oahu Filipina pageant and going into the Miss Hawaii one.

Let me just say that the Miss Oahu Filipina 2013 winner is an intelligent, poised and beautiful young woman, Erika Ordonez. I guarantee you’ll see and hear more about her in the coming years. And selecting her was good preparation for me as I headed into the Miss Hawaii pageant. People, this is hard work, despite what you might think.

As I said, being asked to be a judge is a pretty lofty proposition, and I was in good company with some very prominent people. But being a father keeps me grounded, for sandwiched between the two pageants, my wife and I had to help our daughter with a money-raising effort for her Project Graduation fund. We worked at the State Fair in the fried noodle booth.

That’s right, barely 24 hours after wearing my best barong Tagalog (traditional Filipino formal garb for men) I was in a T-shirt and jeans slinging fried noodles and passing out sodas. We drew the noon shift, so it was hot, noisy and crowded.

But with a limited menu, the job was literally brainless. At least that’s the best description of me. I was taking orders when a large local man came up and asked for a “Mountain Dew.” With all the commotion and noise, I thought he wanted fried man doo (Korean dumplings). I looked at him and said, ‘We only sell fried noodles and sodas.” He said, “Yeah, I like Mountain Dew.”

Again, all I heard was man doo. This, as I stood next to a display of all our sodas, which included Mountain Dew. I tried to sell him on our main dish: “You sure you don’t want a nice hot plate of freshly made fried noodles?” Just as he was about to climb over the counter, one of the other order-takers handed him a Mountain Dew.

I tried to apologize, but he just walked away. He did say something as he left, and it had something to do with me being a fork head.