Small World Story With Bono And U2

by Rick london

Over two decades ago I was just another “corporate policy wonk” in our nation’s capital. I had been working in media and p.r. for over a decade before I decided to strike out on my own and “build my own empire”. It was more like “The Empire Strikes My Back Side”. I was quickly becoming, or had become, a workaholic, which would serve me well later when becoming a cartoonist and e-tailer; purveyor of humorous gifts and collectibles on the Internet, the business I am in now, but I would there would be some dues to pay first. Many in fact.

I was operating like a robot on total burnout, and had to get away. And the further the better. I chose Hawaii. There was no DiscountTickets, Orbitz, or Expedia, so i visited my friendly neighborhood travel agency. They recommended three islands, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Oahu came first as that is where the plane lands. Air Hawaii was still in operation then, and I immediately took off to Maui and rented a convertible and was on my way, alone, on an adventure. But this story is not about “my summer vacation”, but about Bono of U2, a coincidental meeting with him, and later how he came to the rescue to help me fulfill a dream i had had for many years.

Upon arriving in Maui, I was so exhausted, even the sheer beauty of it all did not perk me up. I spent most the time laying on the beach, went whale-watching a few times, sight-seeing etc. My most “exciting” part was the end of the day when I could crawl into bed and sleep with no noise, murders, heavy traffic, and the like, that were a common occurrence in D.C.

I know it was way past midnight when I heard a loud crash, some laughing, and guitar playing in the room next to me. I figured it would go away soon but an hour later it was still in progress. I politely knocked on the door and told them I was there to rest and to please hold it down. It was a group of men and laughing girls. The man answering the door looked a bit familiar and introduced himself as “Paul” with a friendly Irish brogue and invited me in. The other men had similar accents.

I politely opted-out and asked them again to be a bit quieter. They didn’t so I finally called the front desk to complain. He seemed a bit nervous. He explained to me that he would do his best, but the group in the room was a band that had just done a concert on the Island, and it might be a bit difficult but he would do his best. I told him if he couldn’t, to find me another room, but the hotel was full. It turned out he couldn’t, so an hour later I knocked again.

This gang was getting louder and I was invited in. I figured if I made friends with “these nuts”, stayed a few minutes, they would get the message and quiet down. Paul introduced me to his band “U2” and said “and most call me Bono, but you can call me Paul”. I had not heard of Bono, but thought, what the heck, seems like a nice group, I’ll play along. One asked me if I played any instrument (they all had guitars), and i said that i do. (I play the guitar). I was handed an acoustic guitar and jammed with a few of them for half an hour or so, and we were having fun. As Dr. Evil might have said from “Austin Powers”, “I’ve got your lost mojo”, but alas, I was getting it back.

Their league, I learned within moments, was way above mine in the musical arena. They were playing guitar riffs I could not perform, much less of which I’d seen others do. I figured, “This U2 must be a popular band and might even be a bit famous”. I thanked them for inviting me in and the hospitality and, they did finally get to sleep around seven in the morning. I later read in the paper the next day they were the biggest thing in America and doing a world tour. Oddly, their hit song “One” became one of my favorite tunes, before I even knew Paul wrote and sang it.

The story gets odder. I went on with my life and the year was now 2006. I had switched careers and became a cartoonist and e-tailer of my cartoon merchandise. For years, I had wanted for years to be the first cartoonist to “go green” with my funny tee offerings but buying the 100% organic cotton from the manufacturers was totally out of the question, given my budget. I would have had to buy inventory, equipment, and do all the labor, including shipping, tracking, bookkeeping, etc. It sounded like a living hell.

One day, while surfing the Internet, I read an article that Bono (Paul) and his wife Ali had opened a 100% organic textile plant with offices in Dublin and New York called Edun Live aka Edun Online, and was offering a for artists and cartoonists to create organic cotton tees without having to invest a huge sum of dollars. They had figured out a manufacturing and distribution and drop-shipping method that was within my budget. I took the bait, and I’m glad I did. I did, in fact accomplish that goal, thanks to Paul/Bono, and continue to be the first and only cartoonist to have a totally earth-friendly t-shirt shop for men and women. Even the dyes for the cartoon images is non-toxic!

Final Note: I have totally forgiven him and the band for the late night in Maui, and even stay in touch with their offices in Dublin. Also, it turns out Bono had not scheduled a concert in Hawaii at that time. They were resting as well, in between gigs. It was one of those situations where someone asked them if they wanted to play, and they did so on a whim, in a high school football stadium. Bono, even then, obviously had the “to thine own self be true” philosophy. He was not doing this to make money. He was doing it to make music. By the way, Paul’s wife Ali has created her own line at Edun Online as well, not cartoons, but high-fashion and worth seeing.

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