Surfer/Writer/Burrito Enthusiast
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The Inertia

This year has been an avalanche of suck. Every day is a minefield of bleak surprises waiting to explode the moment you open your newsfeed. While some brave souls may attempt to motivate the masses into thinking hope is just around the corner – that 2020 ending will somehow cure whatever rabid ailments afflict this year – this is ultimately a fool’s errand. If there’s anything that 2020 has taught us, it’s that nothing ever gets better, it just grabs a shovel and starts digging newer, more complicated, explosive-laced fields for us to tiptoe through.

Barring Elon Musk offering one-way tickets to another planet in his Space Tesla (any planet will do, at this point, Elon), the only other way to be liberated from the perils of our current trip around the sun is to escape beneath the ocean’s surface. I see no reason to continue existing on dry land when every day feels like the human race is huddled together in a single-wide trailer with a fire-spitting F5 tornado bearing down on it. I would much rather live among the sea creatures than spend another moment enduring 2020.

When I paddle out to surf, I now hope for a massive set wave to sweep me into an underwater canyon so that I can shed the shackles of shore-bound existence and give myself to the sea. I’m ready to trade in humanity for huge manatees. Bring me the largest, gnarliest wave and have it drive me to a depth where I am safely out of the reach of anything resembling a human being or calendar. I will tip it generously for its trouble.

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Being a mere hermit dwelling inside a creepy house in the middle of the woods is not distant enough for me. I must be like a hermit crab and head for the seafloor. There, I will befriend a school of fish and grow gills. How will I grow gills to survive, you might ask? I have opposable thumbs, a college degree, and a roll of duct tape. I’ll figure it out.

The distance would be peaceful. There is little noise to be found in the deep blue – both in a literal and figurative sense. The only audible sounds are the various glubs and blubs from the surrounding water and marine life. There would be no shouting of fabricated information or the daily digital spewing of disturbing rhetoric. No longer would I turn on my TV and feel the immediate need to launch it out the window because I have a new reason to believe every inhabitant of this planet is irrevocably screwed. In my new canyon home, my common fish neighbors live a simple life of finding sustenance, laying roughly 300,000 eggs, and avoiding falling victim to larger creatures. There is freedom in this quiet simplicity. Fish don’t have Wi-Fi, ears, or overly-complicated societies and seem better off for it.

There would still be risks of course, but the ways the ocean can destroy you are known and finite: wave thrashing, infinite rows of sharp teeth, inhalation via whale, and icebergs are the main concerns. These are the standard daily risks you sign up for when you live among marine life. But a land-based existence is far more treacherous. Along with the everyday hazards that come with walking down the street (high winds, clowns, bear attacks), 2020 adds unpredictability, inventing new weekly methods of extinguishing mankind. It’s like a psychopath from a horror movie. This is a year that can harm you simply by breathing, which is terrifying enough on its own to drive us all indoors. But that’s right where this maniac of a year wants us so it can release fires, hurricanes, and murder hornets. No matter what corridor you choose to run down to try to escape, 2020 will be there waiting for you with a machete and COVID-resistant hockey mask. Staring down a hammerhead is far less dangerous.

An undersea expert in 1989 stated that “Darling, it’s better down where it’s wetter. Take it from me.” And while I know he was not addressing me personally, I’m confident this shelled scholar was serenading me spiritually. A better life does await under the sea. I am now giddy whenever I am about to take a large set wave on the head, since this might be the one that sends me to where all the other fish are happy and away from this dumpster fire of a year. The best way to escape a colossal garbage fire is to jump in the ocean, after all.

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