Mama, I'm Swollen
So while the future is wide open for "Areas of My Expertise," it's going to be pretty hard to top this first one. Tim Kasher of Cursive was kind enough to share his wealth of information on learning to surf. You read that right; not "surfing," but "learning to surf." So grab a beer and your board while Tim tells us all about the area of his expertise.
"Areas of My Expertise" by Tim Kasher of Cursive
"Learning to Surf"
Firstly, you're gonna want to move to a coastal town, preferably one that is surf-related, i.e., Ft. Lauderdale, San Diego, Venice Beach. No one's gonna ask you about surfing if you're living in Boston (yep, Boston is coastal). I chose Venice.
Suddenly, you're a walkin' talkin' conversation piece: "Do you surf?" "Not really, but I think about it a lot. But I should, shouldn't I. I mean, what's the ocean for if you don't jump in it from time to time?" Keep thinking about it a lot… walk along the ocean and think about it. It may occur to you that the ocean can ALSO just be for looking, that one doesn't REALLY have to jump in it at all. But don't let this discourage you. Stay on task.
Inevitably, you will run into athletic types, types drawn to these surf communities, who will urge you to "give it a shot." This is great: you're making friends. Go out drinking with these types and discuss a game plan for learning to surf. Play your cards right, thiscould go on for months.
Again, inevitability strikes: despite it being January, your friends are growing antsy. There is talk of wetsuits.
Check Craigslist for wetsuits and surfboards. Recognize that this is an expensive fucking hobby, and how much are you really willing to spend on a "hobby"? Also, consider the fact you are shopping for a used wetsuit. Isn't that like shopping for used underwear??
Okay, we're gonna rent. And yes, by default of renting, you are now putting on used underwear that has been passed around ALL OVER VENICE. Get the longest board they have, as these are by far the easiest to ride.
Now get out there!! Have some fun in the Sun!! Create your surfer alter-ego: I went with "Daz" from Australia. I referred to the ocean as my office.
Recognize that it is near impossible to piss in these wetsuits. Wonder why don't they make a zipper pee-flap. Get momentarily grossed out as you ponder how many, many people have pissed in this thing before you. Tuck this thought way, way, away into that box marked "seasonal" in the basement closet of your mind.
Develop a truce between you and your wetsuit as you float out onto the waves and notice that it does a pretty decent job of keeping you insulated. Sadly, this is only temporary.
Paddle. Try a wave. Paddle. Try another wave. Paddle… Paddle… you may be out of breath at this point, three minutes in. It occurs to you that this is a sport, not a hobby. You consider that you truly are more of a hobbyist, and wonder if you shouldn't be racing RC cars or shooting off some model rocket that you and a buddy built from scratch. It dawns on you: sports are for… athletes. You are currently dabbling in athletics.
Don't feel too bad about this sudden revelation, and feel free to blame this whole misunderstanding on Sean Penn's early work as Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I mean, he couldn't have been an athlete, right? Ergh.
Your wetsuit is failing you. Depending on who you are, your personal make and model, you may be too sickly, too feeble for the cold, cold ocean. Perhaps, as a child, you were teased with the moniker "Tiny Tim" and years later have come to accept this taunt as fairly accurate. No worries, simply jump out of the ocean and take a little catnap as your stronger, more virile friends continue to attack them waves.
…Finally! They're finished. Time to hit the bar. As you strip off your god forsaken wetsuit, consider how duped you truly were about the surfing mythos; without a pee-flap, how can you get drunk and surf all day? They must not even drink when they surf… I'm sure they get stoned, though. At least they got that going for 'em…
Cheers!! Look at you – you still have your drinking buddies, and now you have a WHOLE NEW conversation piece: "Do you surf?" "No, not really… BUT I TRIED ONCE…"
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