Dave the Coconut / Samara’s Story

Two weeks ago Samara and I were in Spain and Gibraltar for a holiday.

I was going to write about it in the diary today but I can’t be arsed because although it was a wonderful time I just spent half a day captioning the photographs and now I think I’ll go mad if I have to try and get the facts straight again.

Besides, there was something funny I saw on holiday about which I remember thinking “oh, that’s diary-worthy,” only now I can’t remember what that was. It may have involved a waiter. Or possibly a ceramic tile. I’d have to go into a sensory deprivation tank to catch the tail of that memory and I’m not sure I have the time to do that before my dinner’s ready.

Instead, let me tell you about Dave the Coconut.

Apparently (and this story was told to me, apropos of nothing, just this week) while on vacation at the age of six, Samara found a coconut on a beach and brought it back to her mum and dad.

“What is it called,” asked her dad, presumably meaning botanically but to which she replied, “Dave.”

Little Samara carried Dave the Coconut around with her for the rest of the holiday until it was finally confiscated by customs officials at the airport.

The thought occurs that this is a strange thing for customs to confiscate. It was 1991 which — in your traditional Euclidean universe, madam — is before 9/11. And they didn’t forbid fluids on planes back then. You could take a super-soaker full of kerosene on board in those days and use it to light your fags.

Maybe customs were thinking of the effect of non-native seeds on the ecology but a whacking great coconut is hardly going to get tracked around on somebody’s boot only to push a glorious tropical palm tree up through the frozen Canadian tundra.

No, it’s more likely that the official had a grudge against coconuts. He’d probably heard of them crossing vast oceans without a proper travel document.

I felt bad for the coconut-hoarding sprog that would eventually grow up to become my wife.

But then something else occurred.

“Could it be,” I asked Samara, “that this is your origin story?”

She did after all grow up to become a border-defying coconut herself. One of my million love names for her, you see, is Coconut Head. And she did, despite all the hassle, move to live in another country.

“No,” she said, “my origin story is when the baby fell out the window.”

I should probably explain quite quickly here that this refers to a Punch and Judy show Samara saw as a child in which Judy’s baby was flung by Mr Punch, not just out of the puppet kiosk, but out the window of the kosher pizza place at which this birthday party was happening. She says that this unexpected breaking of the fourth wall blew her tiny mind.

So maybe Dave the Coconut isn’t her origin story after all but ours.

“Dave the Coconut” does, after all, sound almost exactly like Day of the Coconut, the name we give to the day we got married.

But more pertinently, Samara and I, being an international couple, have had to painfully walk away from each other at airport gates several times. Doesn’t it strike you as curious that this prologue exists? I’ve often wondered what the beautiful, clever, talented Samara sees in me and now I know. She is projecting her childhood loss of Dave the Coconut. Don’t you see? I’m Dave the Coconut.

The fourth wall breaking of this story has blown my mind.

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