The Tiki Odyssey Continued


This post is a sequel to The Tiki Odyssey, the true story of how my tiki soap-on-a-rope design got copied, scanned, ripped off and otherwise disseminated into popular culture. Now the story takes a supernatural turn.

My interest in tikis is strictly confined to the American cocktail variety. The big hand-carved wooden tikis of Polynesia, though beautiful, aren’t as interesting to me as their bastardized American cousins, mass produced in ceramic, skulls hollow for rum. Few people take the religious component of tikis seriously. However, since writing The Tiki Odyssey, subsequent information has convinced me the tiki possesses power beyond my understanding.

A brief recap:



[For the record, I haven’t received credit or compensation since #2.]

Humuhumu picked up my story on her tiki blog, and eagle-eyed readers were soon sending me more appearances of the soap-on-a-rope tiki. This photo is from eBay. Someone made a silicone mold from the tiki lighter (ripping off the rip-off), and they are selling it as a mold for wax, candy, or soap.


That’s right. This tiki god, invoked in complete ignorance (but pure intent), was summoned to earth to be soap, and he will always seek his natural state. I shudder to think of the bad juju that will rain down upon the dark-hearted individuals who dared to profane a tiki soap god –a spirit of hygiene and cleanliness– by corrupting it into a device for lighting cigarettes.

The only thing more amazing than the power of the tiki is the human capacity for self delusion. According to freepatentsonline.com, the guy who made the tiki lighter has actually filed for patent protection with a stolen tiki design (click to enlarge).


Many thanks to Humuhumu and Mike H.

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4 Responses to The Tiki Odyssey Continued

  1. Jeff Harter says:

    Wow, John. I was working on a Tiki character for a project at AG. I googled Tiki and yours came up. Or maybe it was the rip off, now I’m not so sure.

  2. Robert says:

    I found your design and wanted to try carving a copy of it myself. I posted the results on the tiki forum, but I credited you with the design. I did the carving without knowing the story.Anyway, here's the link if you're interested in seeing another version of your design. http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=31228&forum=7&start=last&I don't plan on selling it or any copies of it.Don't sue me because I'm broke, and you ain't getting my carving knife. =)

  3. Mika says:

    So, I’m an amateur sculptress and I’m currently working on mini tikis about an inch and a quarter long. It was really great to read your story as I’m hoping to send my little creations out into the marketplace too. I love your outlook on the situation. Flattering and yet really…do douches really have to be so douchey?! Thanks for your tiki too. It’s really very striking and inspirational.

  4. Danny says:

    Dang. I got one of those lighters as a present from my brother. I’ll never look at it the same. The original design of yours is a real beauty.

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