Things I Can’t Take Back: My past with puka shell necklaces

Have you ever done something so lame, so embarrassing, so unbelievably STUPID that you visibly cringe, regardless of where you are and what you’re doing? Lord knows I have. I’ve got a ton of those under my belt. So I figure, why not share those with you? You know, you are my friends and all.



Let’s be clear, the only people allowed to wear puka shell necklaces are ‘roided out surfers, Samoans, and Paul Rudd. I am not any of those, and yet I had a boner for puka shell necklaces. Like the doucebag I was (and arguably, still am) I didn’t give an F about the tradition or reasons for the creation of the puka shell necklace (and I defy you to provide it to me), I probably saw it on MTV Spring Break while sitting at home doing Latin homework and thought, “I need those.” Turns out I would also need anabolic steroids, Oakley sunglasses, and enough nair to kill Chewbacca.
To be fair, you could probably make the case that Paul Rudd can get by with the lame tribal arm tattoo, but you’d lose there.

I couldn’t help myself. I loved those cheap, tiny squares of “shell” so much that I would hide them in my bag when I was going off to camp so I could be badass and not be rightly yelled at by my mom. You’d think it would have stopped there, but I even hid them in the glove compartment of my car when I drove to school. Yeah, I’m THAT lame.

Follow me to the Dane Cook show.
…oh no I didn’t.
Why in the world did I think those were cool? I think I thought they were aggressive or rock star-ish, when in reality nearly every single person who wore them was a douchebag. If I had combined those with white sunglasses my head would have exploded in a shower of stupid. And yet, I wore them and loved them more than life itself.   

I went out of my way to purchase them. Oh, and they had to be the SQUARE ones, too. The rounded ones were “lame.” I thought I was the shit; when I really just looked like a clown. I just had a flashback of myself wearing a sleeveless shirt whilst “rocking” puka shells and I almost threw up at my desk. Not kidding.

Yep, this is who I’m grouping me with. This is happening.
Now I can’t help but notice the people who do wear them. I think of Kenny Chesney. Kenny Fucking Chesney. Why on God’s green Earth would I ever want to be associated with The Man Who Would Be Buffet?   

Wikipedia says that Puka shell necklaces were “traditionally thought to ensure a peaceful and safe voyage, especially for sailors on a long journey, so puka-shell necklaces were especially worn by those who had to travel on the sea.” That makes sense. I was often on long journeys across the sea in my merchant vessel, steaming out for…no, wait. Nope. Not me. I had about as much reason wearing puka shell necklaces as I did wearing my carolina blue velour jumpsuit. I am not a rapper or retired Floridian, and I am not supposed to be wearing puka shells. But I did. People have pictures of this. I do not, because two years ago I tried to do everything I could destroy pictures that make me visibly cringe. This is also why there are no photos of me in 7th grade.

I’m Woody Tondorf, and I once wore puka shell necklaces for all the wrong reasons for an extended period of time.

And that’s something I can’t take back. Where did I put my white sunglasses?

I refuse to apologize for my clear and present Awesome.

11 Responses

  1. I wore a hemp necklace for a while, and I feel much the same way about that now.

    Well said.

  2. Most metrosexuals stay locked in the closet. You’re brazen Woody Tondorf.

    -Scott Summit

  3. i wish there was photographic proof of this.

  4. At least you probably removed your puka shell necklace when sleeping. I for sure kept my “fortune bead” ankle bracelet on until it disintegrated. I think I cried.

  5. Woody- I am so glad you have a blog! You always make me laugh. Can’t wait to read your future posts:-)

  6. lol, puka shell necklaces?!?! Too funny, however I too have a horrible secret. You know those crappy “friend-ship” bracelets that come in hideous colors of fluorescent orange, yellow, lime and not quite as bad black? Well, when I was in high school I wore one around my ankle all the time, and yes these bracelets are the very same that you can find at Mr. Gattis’, Chucky Cheese, and the like. I would wear them in the shower, to tennis practice, everywhere and never take them off-disgusting, I know. They would break every so often and I would get my little brother or sister to get me some when they went out for pizza with their friends, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. At least your shells were cooler than those stupid bracelets, lol!

  7. Erin, I’m not going to sugar coat it: that’s pretty bad 🙂

    Thanks for sharing! The worst memories in your past are usually the funniest.

  8. Well, at least I didn’t hide them in my glove box! 😉

  9. Allow me to suggest a corollary:

    The metal bead necklace.

    To answer your question: Yes, I did.

  10. The writer of this blog must be an ignorant fool that doesn’t know what REAL puka shells really are. We live either in freedom to make our own choices or in slavery to others ideas.

  11. Wow, Relax. Its just a damn shell necklace. Not the embodiment of all things evil. You’re weird. Lmao

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