An intellectual blossoming in the tropics!
Sam George is a hero. I’m not even joking. Him his brother Matt are surfing humanitarians who’ve delivered aid to devastated places, such after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Matt is a man who made the film In Gods Hands, for fucks sake! He convinced people to pay him for this! BravfuckingO.
A non-profit organization, Last Mile Operations, took me to the Mentawai Islands to learn how to be a surf journalist. Money and fame and free shit awaited. I could surf my brains out while assuaging my white western guilt by spending a few hours ferrying supplies between our yacht and the little brown people in the local villages.
My fawning for Sam began one morning when he bounded out of the cabin and onto the deck. Bronzed and upright. Wearing the shortest of shorts that allowed his thighs to declare ‘we matter like yours never will’. These here were no withering spindly SpaghettiOs but thighs with a stance and stride that inspired holy-fuck visions, statues, and the greatness of surfing before it became the pig-swilling-clusterfuck-of-supercilious-ears-tucked-into-trucker-hat attention-seeking-$-grubbing-children-of-the-corporation I was so willing to be a part of.
It was then he spoke.
“In my opinion you spoke intelligently yesterday.”
My brain raced. He remembered me. ME!
I averted my gaze. Pulse racing. “Wah-a-at?”
Sam suddenly changed his tone.
“But why are you so lazy?”
You see, Sam had been hunched over in the cabin below deck scrawling line after line into his notebook. He’d prepared mosquito nets for delivery later that day all the while barking out a class. All this had happened as I had forgotten about said class and moseyed about on deck trying to find a beer in that tropical heat that at least pretended to be cold.
“Are you ill?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Why’d you come? Aren’t you learning anything? Don’t you want to DO something?”
One of his eyes rotated of its own accord as if trying to escape the socket to strangle me itself.
“Are you cracked or something? Why did you come?”
That accent! Swoon! Behold: MAN!
Sam realised he was not in the slightest disposed to have this face-to-face conversation with anyone in the whole world, not-the-least this blithering idiot.
Oh wicked thoughts. I may be a nihilist but Sam, my dear Sam, had eased the torment for a fleeting moment.
My heart broke.
We had been promised that the best of the best of the writing from the trip would be featured in SURFER Magazine.