"Barbarian fucking days indeed."
It’s like a View-Master toy from the 1970s. Maybe you remember ’em.
You insert stereoscopic 3-D pictures and advance with the lever. Your own little fantasy world that only you can see. Never mind that it’s mass produced and everyone else is looking at the same pictures, just from their point of view.
The initial joy of the contraption is captivating, but after the third cycle through you realize it’s the same shit, and it’s not getting better.
Has BG become a View-Master in this COVID-shark-quit-lit Elo-and-Slater-stalking-MAGA idiocy in the comments takeover year of 2020?
Is BG a microcosm of the macrocosm of surfing-while-aging? An ouroboros, where to progress we need to eat our own tail, wallow in our own repetitive shit?
Have we reached the point where we realize it’s not getting better, despite efforts of LongTom and Chazz and Surfads to nudge us to hit the browser refresh lever for another peek we hope will be more entertaining than the last time?
Or is this allegorical musing a reflection on my own surfing, or more accurately, recent lack of?
Maybe it was the excess testosterone or the naïve belief of youth that all your dreams will come true and everything you talk about until midnight actually means something.
Is Searching for Tom Curren better than Kelly Slater in Black and White?
What’s the best surf spot on the East Coast?
Will you ever longboard as an old man so you can at least stay in the water?
How much money do we need for an endless around the world surf trip before we get real jobs, and where will we go?
Etc. etc. etc.
Those questions and dreams lost in the dustbin of the past, ground to find granules on the floor of my life where they join with those long-lost feelings from when I used to walk into a surf shop to smell the wax and get the latest copy of Surfer magazine.
Shit, those boardroom kooks even took that nominal pleasure from us this year.
Repetition… the story of this, my so-called surfing life. Barbarian fucking days indeed.
The same shit waves.
This, despite the collective local delusion that they are worth surfing, as seen in the locally produced “I (heart) small waves” bumper sticker. Fucking idiots. They’re small shit waves. Wishful thinking via bumper sticker doesn’t make them worth more, or you a better surfer by grovelling on them.
The same grovelling for thirty years.
What does an overhead wall even look like? I’ve been trying to find out for years via surf porn. Now with GoPro we losers can see even more clearly what we’ll never experience. Koa Rothman has perfect abs, a perfect mole, perfect eyebrows, all the free açai he wants, and in one day surfing Rockies will get more ocean juice and tube time than I’ve gotten combined in thirty years of ocean time.
Who wants to see a vlog of my surf life?
The same piddly dribbles… same pulling on the wetsuit for the fifty-degree winter plunge… same shredder who somehow is pulling all the modern tricks on these shit waves as he’s aged, when I’ve regressed to barely being able to stand up on time before the dribble passes me by.
Except now I have a wife who begrudges me even the one hour every two months I do get in this same sloppy shit.
And while some deal with mid-life crises by buying the convertible Corvette or doing the dream trip to the Mentawis or dropping $1,200 for a new custom shape from their dream shaper, my mid-life crisis is trying not to step on Lego pieces in the middle of the night as I sneak out of bed to rub one out.
I haven’t bought a new board in twenty years or been on a dream trip in as long.
Bills, fading skills that never were, overcrowded lineup of bobbing kooks… even the sand is coarser in my toes.
What does it mean when our whole surf life is a steady downward trajectory from the peak euphoria of our first ever wave, through bills, jobs, aging, more people in the lineup, stagnant skill level, down the slope to the putrid chasm of lost regrets for what could have been: if only… if only the waves were four-feet bigger. If only the wind were offshore.
If only I had a job in Hawaii.
If only I could have more money to travel.
If only there weren’t so many Germans in the lineup when I finally travel.
The worst thing about it all is that I see where this nihilism all ends and it terrifies me.
Or would, if I weren’t a budding nihilist. The not caring, the endless snark, the being ok with missing a chest high two-hour swell when back in the day I’d have been pissed for three weeks and would have rewaxed my board as a promise to myself to not miss the next one.
I see where it ends, on this path of nihilism.
And it’s this end game, this telos, the realization of who I’ll become if I don’t snap out of it that is the mantra I have to repeat, to somehow escape the quit lit era of our times:
“Whatever else I do and no matter how bad it gets, don’t become Ben Marcus.”