A New Years Nightmare
Wed, 01 Jan 1997
We'd decided to spend a quiet New Years Eve this year, since my behavior
at a huge hotel party last year is still a source of embarrassment for me
and semiboiled anger for Mrs.Foon.
Hey, there were no signs that said you COULDN'T drag race the elevators!
(loser, chugs a beer) But the house security guy was nice even after my
friend spackled his shoes with spew colored with everything from the
This year we joined a few friends for a quiet Chinese dinner and a movie
(Kung Pao with hot sauce, "Mars Attacks" and not worth the price of
admission). Later we went to someone's home to watch the various TV
offerings (dreck) and drank some Tott's Extra Dry Champagne, then home to
bed about 3 am. I usually dream very vividly, but this one was over the
top and bad.
I dreamt I was looking out from a cliff at a magnificent and empty reef
break. It sort of looked like Sunset Cliffs in San Diego. The waves were
headhigh, wellshaped and evenly spaced (had to be a dream, right?) Instead
of taking the stairs down the cliff, for some reason I chose to slide on
my ass down a rainwashed cliff gully. When I reached the bottom my
backside was bruised, cut, scraped raw and my boardshorts shredded.
As I moved down the beach I realized that a local surf camp was setting up
military style tents for hundreds of people. There were trailer trucks
full of surfboards and everyone was putting on wetsuits to go out to the
empty break. I rushed to put my fins on and noticed huge holes in my feet
where I once had surf knots. The holes were about the size of tennis
balls, and went all the way through. I could see it would be useless to
put on my fins, but what worried me most is I didn't bring a wetsuit, all
I had was a vest - and the vest had turned into one of those
sparkly sequins things that female Black Jack dealers wear in Vegas. As
more people grabbed boards and headed for the break, I panicked, put on my
sparkly vest and grabbed the first surfcraft I could, then ran for the
My dream quickcut to me sitting outside of hundreds of surfers. I was
sitting in a 15 foot seayak with no paddle and I did not have a clue how
to ride one of those things. I noticed a big set wave forming and started
paddling that damn yak with my hands. As it gained momentum and started to
slide down the wave face, I looked to my left. All along the wall of the
wave I saw 88 black and white surfboards and riders laid out like piano
keys, paddling to snake me. I some how trimmed the yak and took dead aim
on the entire keyboard. As the steel tipped yak cut through the mob all I
could hear was Jerry Lee Lewis backhanding the entire length of the
ivories on a red hot version of "Great Balls of Fire!"
I woke up with a start. It was 6:30 am, and my nightmare was not over. The
message light blinked on our phone and it was my boss telling me one of my
end of year projects was in danger of not getting finished. He ordered me
to go to work and stay there 'til it was done. That's where I am now
New Years day, trying to figure out how to use this damn computer to
launch a missile strike on that fuckheads house. Anyone got any
suggestions. It looks like I'm going to be pulling a marathon here, so
don't get weirded by the posts you may see from me the next few days.
I'm not sure my nightmare would qualify for a chapter in the Surf Rat
Diaries (Whaddya think Leo?) But I'd be very glad if one of you
classically trained Freudians would do an analysis and tell me what it all
means. As for me, my New Years Resolution is:
"No hot Chinese, No bad movies, and No cheap Champagne."
Happy New Year everyone. Let me see what's this little button marked
"Fire" for. Seeya boss!
How Fang got her job at SurferGirl
23 January 1997
Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. The methods
should never be used to seek employment in the real world.
One day Steve Hawk, Editor of Surfer Magazine, was told that
known female surfer Nancy Jean Travis, aka Fang, was waiting
to see him.
When he asked her in his office Fang said, "Mr.Hawk, I want
to make you a
Steve, intrigued by the offer, said, "OK Fang, what is
said, "I'll bet you a new surfboard of your choice that
tomorrow at noon
you will have square balls." Steve burst out laughing, "Why
ridiculous Fang, I don't have square balls!" Fang simply
at noon you will, or I owe you a new surfboard." She got up
to leave and
said, "Is it a bet?" "Sure Fang," Steve smiled, "but it's a
going to lose." Fang turned to leave then said, "Since this
is a bet based
on verification, do you mind if I bring someone along as a
problemo." said Steve.
That night Steve repeatedly observed himself in the mirror
convinced there was no way he had square balls. He delighted
knowledge he would be getting a new board.
The next day, at 5 of noon, Fang arrived accompanied by
introduced as Jennifer, Editor of SurferGirl Magazine, who
uncomfortable. Fang said, "OK Steve, let's see 'em."
lowered his baggies for the women to see. Fang said, "They
square to me, but if you don't mind, could Jennifer just
feel them to make
sure?" Uncomfortable with the idea but thinking only about
board, Steve agreed.
Immediately Jennifer started to slowly pound her head
against the wall,
and swear softly under her breath. Steve asked Fang,
"What's the matter
with her?" Fang replied, "Yesterday I bet Jennifer a new
surfboard of your
choice and a paying full-time job at SurferGirl Magazine
that by noon today
she'd have the Editor of Surfer Magazine by the balls."
Foondoggy (with apologies to Fang, Jennifer and ok,
Sat, 01 Feb 1997
"I speak the truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I
dare a little more as I grow older."
In the late afternoon of a cloudless Fall day, the young man guided an old
rented boat toward the deserted island miles off the Carolina Coast. No
one had lived on the island since the monstrous and deadly Hurricane
Amschel all but leveled it in July, 2035. In fact, most of the Carolina
Coast had been abandoned to the unpredictable whims of the ocean after a
25 foot storm surge powered by 175 mph winds slammed ashore destroying
everything in it's path for hundreds of miles. After the category 5 storm,
millions of people moved inland when the government declared it would not
pay for the $180 Billion dollars of damage and further, would not
underwrite insurance for any future construction within 75 miles of the
coast. The only people who lived in Coastal Carolina now were a few
fishermen, some squatters and the mentally infirm.
The young man landed the boat on a quiet beach near an ancient promontory
called Cape Fear. Off the point he could see a riot of wave breaking all
the way to the horizon as the confluence of the Gulf Stream and swells
from a Nor'Easter met on the treacherous sandbars of the Frying Pan Shoals.
It was no wonder this area was known as the graveyard of the Atlantic. The
sight of waves stirred uneasy feelings in the young man's heart and he
chided himself to concentrate on the reason he was here.
The young man was actually a professional surfer of some repute. He had
followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and conquered the
professional surfing world, claiming six world championships in as many
years. There came a time when he got tired of being known as Kelly
Slater's grandson and he dreamed of becoming unknown again. Burned out by
the pro circuit, he'd spent 2 years alone, surfing the great breaks of the
world; Australia, California, Hawaii, Indonesia, Orlando, always searching
for the answer to a question that clung tightly to his soul. The
uncertainty of his life prompted him to ask the question of his
grandfather who shook his head in puzzlement and said, "Seek the truth,
grandson. There you will find the answer."
For years now the young man had been following the path of clues in a
purposeful search to discover his truth. He'd spent weeks at the National
Computer Files Archives in San Jose, CA, reading volumes of old and
primitive computer files that revealed powerful dialogues among the great
minds on an early version of the OmniNet (called the Internet). People
named Surff, Bonzer, Ciaccio, Sandman, Dagum, Airey, Necfy (a malibu
surfer), Tweed, Ric, Johnny-the-Shu, Da Hulk, Will, Surfer Bob, VXLMD, and
many many more gave voices to the great issues of the times. Among them
there was a voice which, though muted by self depreciating humor, used
thoughtful introspection and quotations from famous men to reveal a secret
wisdom. The young man knew if he could find that voice, he would find his
truth and the answer to his question. Rumors heard in the few
remaining barbecue shacks along the Carolina Coast spoke of the old man
who lived on a deserted island. "If he's alive," they said, "He'll be
there. Check the lighthouse."
The old lighthouse, built in 1861, had survived the worst that mother
nature had thrown at it. It stood now in the distance as the only standing
structure on the island. The 13 foot thick walls were worn and pitted, but
still it stood facing the ocean, ever vigilant, always watching. The
ancient lantern housing at the top was a rusted mass of mangled metal and
shattered glass. The young man entered the old tower and gazed in dismay
at the decrepit stairway that spiraled its way to the top. He stood still
and listened. Ever so faintly he could hear a few soft notes from the
theme song of an old surf movie. "Hello" he yelled, "Is anyone there?"
There was no answer so he reluctantly decided to risk climbing the rickety
stairway. Forty-five frightening minutes later he came to the threshold of
a small room that existed at the very top of the lighthouse. He looked in
and saw a wizened old man sitting on a faded, canvas, sling back beach
chair. He knew his search had ended.
The old man's eyes were fried and blind, probably from staring directly
into too many Right Coast sunrises, looking for waves. Looking up
slightly, the old man said softly, "Enter, young seeker." The young man
started to say "Thank you, Foo..." "Quiet" the old man interrupted.
"Listen to the ocean. Therein lies the answer to your question."
The young man sat down on the bare wood floor and listened to the waves
breaking in the distance. He gazed about the room and observed the
simplicity of the old man's existence. An old, faded Endless Summer poster
hung crookedly from a dart on the wall. A small dusty cassette deck played
one of hundreds of tapes that were stacked in a milk crate against the
wall. Nearby, an ashtray held a smoldering cigar and a half bottle of
bourbon sat next to a framed picture of a very attractive woman who
was shown standing ankle deep on a sandbar at some beach. In the corner
was an old creased and punctured bodyboard, with a few darts stuck in it.
The old man sat quietly, head bobbing slowly to the soft music. His
sightless eyes seemed to see the pale setting sun which angled through a
small window. In his right hand he slowly twirled a cracked and splintered
drumstick. He wore on his nearly hairless head a threadbare and filthy
ball cap with the words, "urf Free or Di" in faded letters on the crown.
Some of the letters appear to have been lost. His only clothing seemed to
be a wrinkled and faded Hawaiian print shirt which pictured erupting
volcanoes and outrigger canoes charging down some wave rushing toward a
lush tropical paradise. That and a patched pair of green canvas
boardshorts, stained with ashes and coffee. The most disturbing feature of
the old man was his skin, which had the appearance that of an alligator.
There must have been a time in his life when the old man was fair-skinned
and freckled, but the ravages of time, sun, wind and water had taken their
toll. Soon the old man spoke.
"Ask your question young seeker, though I already know what it is." The
young man hesitated, knowing this was his opportunity to find out what had
been heavy on his heart for so many years. He spoke slowly to the old man,
"Tell me please sir, will there ever be a time when I will not need to
soothe my soul by riding waves?" There was a long silence as the old man
drew slowly in his cigar, blew a smoke ring and sipped lightly from a
small glass of bourbon. "Yes, young seeker," he began. "When your body no
longer needs food to sustain it, and your lungs cease to draw breath to
continue your life. Only then will you no longer need what feeds your soul
by riding waves."
The young man was smitten by the enormity of this truth. Yet the
uncertainty about the meaning of his life suddenly disappeared. He rose
slowly, cleansed by the knowledge of this truth and comforted by the clear
path his life would now take. As he backed toward the door he murmured
most gratefully, "Thank you, Foonmaster".
The old man seemed to look toward the small window as if he could see the
light of the setting sun as it fell upon his deeply lined face. "One more
thing, Son." The young man waited with breathless anticipation.
"That piece of advice 'ill cost you $25, bub. Do you know what cigars and
good sippin' bourbon cost these days."
Startled by the nature of the comment the young man stepped back and
accidentally tripped on the door sill of the small room, pitching backward
and crashing through the rotten handrail of the staircase. He began to
fall 15 stories from the top of the lighthouse into the dark interior of
the old tower but he could not even scream as he felt himself enveloped by
blackness. His only thoughts were wonderment at how stupid the end of his
life would be, that and curiosity about the small light below him that
grew in size as he plummeted downward. Strangely, without fear, he began
to feel an attraction to be in the light. He reached out as if to touch
it, and closed his eyes as he accepted the inevitable. Even with his eyes
closed he could still feel the presence and the warmth of the light.
When he opened his eyes again he was staring at a large orange orb that
seemed surrounded by rose colored tendrils and shimmering lights. Suddenly
he realized he was lying on the cool sand of the small deserted island,
looking at what appeared to be a magnificent sunrise. He slowly stood up
and looked out at the waves coming in at the apex of Cape Fear. Offshore
winds and the Nor'East swell had combined to organize the waves overnight
producing what looked like some of the best surfing conditions he'd ever
seen. Long lines of 10 foot waves wrapped precisely around the now uniform
sandbars forming a tunnel-like left breaking wall that stretched a quarter
mile 'til it ended at the Cape Fear rivermouth.
The young man turned to run back to the lighthouse to find the answer to
this mystery but instinctively he knew the old man was not there. He never
was. He realized now that everything he knew of the old man called
Foondoggy was found in the messages of an obscure old newsgroup called
alt.surfing, that existed many decades ago. And though he understood that
everything he'd read could have been the bourbon soaked ramblings of an
old man's imagination, one thing he was absolutely certain of. What the
old man had told him in the tower was in fact a window on his soul and
ultimately the truth he had been seeking.
The young man walked over to his boat and picked up the small surfboard
he'd brought with him. He started to head towards the point but suddenly
stopped to pick up what appeared to be an old, worn ball cap half stuck in
the sand. He shook out the cap and read the faded words on the crown.
" urf Free or Di," it said and as he placed the cap on his head he would
not realize the significance of these words until years later, himself an
old man, when he would come across the obituary for the man named
Foondoggy. It seems he was never seen again after the huge Hurricane
called Amschel. No one was ever sure what happened to him, and no one but
the young seeker even cared.
Foondoggy (Mrs.Foons in Canada, got up and wrote this at 3:00 am last