Why I support the Blood Bank

Every six weeks I get a phone call asking me to stick a needle in my arm, and I’m happy to oblige. I’ve donated regularly for the past several years, and I’m proud to say that I’ve now contributed 20 pints.

I head, usually tardy, to the downtown location, near the old Hawaii Independent offices on Merchant St. Danny, the gentleman who manages the front of the office, is an affable guy, and he plays Laura Nyro over the ceiling speakers. I get my blood pressure checked, make a note of it in my iPhone for bragging later, and get poked for 10 minutes. And when the ordeal is over, there are free Cookie Corner cookies. I’d actually prefer them without nuts, but at this price, how could I complain?

In addition to chocolate chip cookies, I also derive a philosophical joy from the experience. When I was growing up, it was common to get questions, usually from other Hawaiians, about my blood quantum. Blood was politics, a product of congressional Republicans wanting to exclude future Hawaiians from the benefits of the Hawaiian Homelands Act.

I much prefer the consanguinity of the Blood Bank. In those vials, tubes, and syringes, our blood is fungible and intermixed. Blood isn’t political shibboleth, but is simply a transmitter, delivering the nutrients from our land, and the oxygen from our air, to our people. A beautiful thing indeed.