Mail a coconut from the Molokai, Hawaii post office

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36 Responses to “Mail a coconut from the Molokai, Hawaii post office”

  1. gypsymonkey says:

    I grew up on Molokai in the ’70′s and people were already doing it then, but it sure is fun reading about it on Boingboing!

  2. Colleen says:

    So I did some archaeology on Kalaupapa, which is where the lepers on Molokai lived, and discovered that they basically reinvented lithic technology using bottle glass in place of knives. Here’s one post about doing archaeology on Molokai:

    http://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2008/09/07/kalaupapa-archaeology/

    And here’s the post about utilized glass/blades, lepers, and experimental archaeology in comic form:

    http://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2008/09/22/utilized-glass-and-experimental-archaeology-in-kalaupapa/

  3. brownhb says:

    I always thought that as long as it had postage and an address, you could really send anything through the US mail. I know a friend who mailed a flip flop as a joke and it went through.

  4. adamnvillani says:

    I used to work near a small post office with a totally mellow postal clerk who kept up a sort of running comedy commentary while he was working busy lunch hours, and it totally made me appreciate how somebody can take a job that other people might think is boring and totally make it their own.

    Knowing how mellow people in Hawaii are, I can only imagine how cool — in the most genuine sense of the word — this postal worker must be.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My friend mailed me a coconut from Hawaii one year and since it wouldn’t fit through my mail slot, it was left next to my front door in the vestibule. When the robber showed up at my place to liberate me of my belongings and couldn’t find a rock to smash the window for entry, they found a handy substitute right there in front of them. Glad I can laugh about the whole ordeal now :)

  6. Kulia says:

    I grew up on Maui and when I came home for summers during college, I would collect coconuts from our yard and paint them and mail them to my friends on the mainland. It was a lot of fun to hear their stories of receiving it! Born and raised in Hawaii and Molokai is the only island I’ve never been to!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Interesting synchronicity: the provincial novel prize winner in (my home) Newfoundland’s Arts and Letters competition this year, currently on display in the province’s major gallery, is set in the Molokai leper colony. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s not something that happens every day. Sadly, no coconut mailing appears to take place in the book itself.

    (Full disclosure: I personally know the author of the book and helped proofread it.)

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Pedantic Department of Pedantry feels it necessary to point out that Father Damien was not the founder of the colony at Kalaupapa; he was just the first good administrator the colony ever got.

    For further reading on the bleak, inhumane, and mostly pointless history of the leper colony, I would recommend John Tayman’s book The Colony (available from Amazon, et alia).

  9. Baron Karza says:

    Nuts to You!!

  10. jaytkay says:

    I heart the US Post Office.

    That is all.

  11. Varekai says:

    What a wonderful way to drum up business! So who were the lucky recipients of the coconuts, and have they arrived yet? Love to see the look on the face of the mainland mailperson delivering it!

  12. duncan says:

    In fact, you can mail free coconuts from any post office by just writing an address and paying the postage. You can mail most anything so long as it doesn’t hurt the letter carriers or the machinery.

  13. flipa says:

    Hard Ticket To Hawaii, one of the most mind-blowing movies ever made, is also set in Molokai. “This is for the Molokai cops,” says Ronn Moss right before murdering a dude with a frisbee, at 01:30: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd_X-C5g29o

    (Any excuse to post that clip.)

  14. Anonymous says:

    The post-a-nut service is one of the many charming and unique experiences the island has to offer. I think more people should take a brief trip to Molokai as a sort of vacation from their vacation. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to “Old Hawaii” anymore.

  15. mr_josh says:

    THAT is awesome. I mean seriously. Your kid is pretty lucky- she’s going to remember that for a long time.

  16. Pixelmatsch says:

    I kind of want to see that electric blue vomit geyser. You wouldn’t happen to have any pictures of it?

    (Yes, I’d be a bad, bad parent.)

  17. General Specific says:

    Ugh, seasickness is THE WORST.

    I really want someone to send me a coconut now.

  18. Anonymous says:

    “…to ship a coconut in United States.” your wording makes it sound like Hawaii isn’t part of the US. Net time, you can call the continental US the mainland, or, as I do, call it the “the BIG island.”

    • Mark Frauenfelder says:

      I know Hawaii is part of the US — I lived in Hawaii for two years when I was very young (my father was in the Coast Guard and we lived in Hawi on the Big Island).

    • catastrophegirl says:

      in reply to “…to ship a coconut in United States.” your wording makes it sound like Hawaii isn’t part of the US. Net time, you can call the continental US the mainland, or, as I do, call it the “the BIG island.”
      - if you notice, there’s a picture of sign that shows shipping rates outside the united states as being about $12-20. i think that’s what the author is comparing the US shipping rates to

  19. Anonymous says:

    Love the story. My family is from Molokai. Still have a large contingent that lives there. Love my memories of camping at Mo’omomi Beach.

  20. Anonymous says:

    What!!??! you were on Maui and didnt come to a Maui Maker Hackerspace meeting? bummer. We would have loved to have you as a guest speaker… and then you could call it a business trip.

    Molokai has a very impressive CAD and Robotics program for their middle/high school kids. All get exposed early and supported in FIRST/VEX competitions. I gave a presentation on 3d Printing, makerbots and other 21st century fab tech to a group of 40 highly interested middle school kids last winter. The girls were especially interested as we printed out a part they had designed. I was impressed that an island with under 7000 people could find 40 middle school kids with that much interest in robots, etc. The girls did very well the next day at the VEX competition.

  21. jjsaul says:

    Here’s a follow-up you could try… after a couple of coconuts, a friend on vacation took one of her flip-flops, used paint-markers to sketch a seascape on the sole, and posted that to me.

    I think after a dozen increasingly creative deliveries my letter carrier started getting a crush on her.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I worked at a Post Office in SW Florida for ~8 months, as a temp back in 1976, right out of high school. I recall several instances of tourists trying to mail coconuts by sticking stamps on them & scrawling an address. If I recall, we used to let them go, as long as they had enough postage.

  23. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Circa 1963, my late, ex-aunt Rosalie’s sister, Honey, went to Hawaii, bought one of those coconuts that’s painted to look like a head, flew it back to New York where she toured it around NYC, taking pictures of it posing as her fiancé at the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, etc., which she then made into a photo scrapbook for me.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I’ll see your “electric blue popsicle juice” and raise you my son’s red slurpie and spam musubi in the back set of my car on the road back from Hana. Too bad it wasn’t a rental.

  25. irksome says:

    In Boston, I used to live above a parking lot that was our local Bust-A-Nut center.

  26. Ceronomus says:

    You can do this from several places. Disney World offers mailable coconuts as well.

    • waltbosz says:

      I know I’ve seen these at Disney’s Polynesian resort, you can mail it to anywhere in the continental US for a fixed price. Unfortunately, this excludes Hawaii.

    • grimc says:

      However, Disney coconuts are for personal use only, and unauthorized public exhibition is subject to prosecution and/or fines.

  27. tobergill says:

    I recall somebody in Alaska wanted to ship concrete blocks from Seattle for a project and shipping proved too expensive. He mailed each block individually through USPS.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Father Damien (or Saint Damien of Molokai, now) not only ministered to the lepers when nobody else would, he loved them to the point of sacrificing his life for them: he became a leper himself. Something to think about, for sure.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Damien#Illness_and_death

  29. Anonymous says:

    i really liked your post. thanks for that. Moloka’i is a beautiful place. I hope it never gets developed. That being said, “leper” is currently a word that is taboo, especially within the still-existing colony. People are not allowed to come and go, and as you may know, has no roads leading into the settlement itself. With special permits, people can visit the home of the remaining people who still suffer from the effects of hansons disease.
    They are amazing people with even more amazing stories. Father damien was a good man, but he often gets credit for being founder of the place, but as Anon has already mentioned, he is not. Damien has even been annulled(?) as a saint. WOW! In my opinion, the thousands of people who lived their lives in the settlement, some of them without even truly having hansons disease, deserve recognition too.
    kuleana

  30. mpera says:

    There is a whole slew of Permissible Objects of Post (Gotta love the acronym). I sent a 2′ diameter bouncy ball to my sister in college. She loved it.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Surely Boing Boingers must be familiar with Wired’s monthly Return To Sender contest? Basically you have to see what the weirdest thing is that you can manage to get USPS to deliver, unpackaged, by scrawling Wired’s address on it and applying postage. My mind is regularly blown by what gets through.

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