I’m a kook. It’s taken me a while to admit it, but now that I have, it’s quite liberating. I’m not necessarily talking about skill level – this goes beyond that. I’m talking about being an honest to goodness kook. I’m done pretending, and I’m done trying to hide it; I’ve just come to accept that I will never be very cool. I’m okay with that. It’s not a surprise to anyone who knows me. I have a resume listing my kooky credentials that’s quite impressive. I will divulge a few of them for you here. For the record, all of the following instances are true; I didn’t fabricate any of them. Some are associated with surfing. Some aren’t. As a disclaimer, I do not condone or condemn the following behaviors, just in case some readers may happen to practice them.
– I used to wear a tank-top and swim-trunks under my wetsuit. I also used to walk to the water with my wetsuit half way down, trying to impress the ladies.
– When I first started reading surf magazines I used to think Occy was pronounced the same as Aussie; I thought it was a sort of double meaning since he’s Australian.
– I also used to think that the Beach Boys were core surf music. I’d cruise to the beach listening to “Surfin’ Surfari” thinking about “catching a wave and sitting on top of the world.”
– A few winters ago on the North Shore, I took a BZ longboard out at Chuns Reef to goof around on and proceeded to get sucked over the falls with it, completely burning Bonga Perkins in the process. Luckily, I think he was more amused than upset. I went in shortly after that.
– I once tried to “shoot” a couple pilings at my local pier, only to wuss out at the last second which resulted in bear-hugging a piling and dinging my board. Luckily, a bruised ego was the only injury I incurred.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. I once took a vegetarian on a date to a steakhouse. Another time on a surf trip with some friends, we stayed at my buddy’s parents’ house. That night, I peed in my pants while sleeping on their floor. I have no idea why or how that happened. Did I mention I was 23-years-old? Okay, that one is a little embarrassing.
I could go on and on; the examples never end. Like the time I asked a girl on a date to the city “recycling center,” aka the trash dump (not sure what I was thinking…); or the time I made a joke about losing my job in a room full of teachers who had actually lost their jobs.
But I digress. I’ve presented here only a handful of my life’s more embarrassing moments, so what’s my point?
Well, I guess that I’m saying we’ve all been kooks at some point in our lives – for me at many points. So if you’re a kook, don’t be embarrassed, you are not alone. For every glamorous poster child out there in the lineup, there are a dozen kooks like me listening to the Beach Boys, talking about how much Mark “Aussielupo” rips. I may not be the coolest guy in the parking lot, but I sure have fun surfing. And some of the most magical days of surfing I’ve ever experienced were those in the beginning, before I knew any better, when I used to walk to the water’s edge with my wetsuit half down and my tank-top on. And all those embarrassing kook moments make for some good stories and better laughs down life’s road. I guess all I’m really saying is let’s not take ourselves too seriously; we all deserve a little grace.