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Foondroppings 10h  

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 buffet table!

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 waters edge.

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!

-Foondoggy %^}

How Fang got her job at SurferGirl

23 January 1997

Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. The methods described herein should never be used to seek employment in the real world.

One day Steve Hawk, Editor of Surfer Magazine, was told that the well 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 bet."

Steve, intrigued by the offer, said, "OK Fang, what is it?" Fang 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 that's ridiculous Fang, I don't have square balls!" Fang simply said, "Tomorrow 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 bet you're 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 witness. "No problemo." said Steve.

That night Steve repeatedly observed himself in the mirror and was convinced there was no way he had square balls. He delighted in the knowledge he would be getting a new board.

The next day, at 5 of noon, Fang arrived accompanied by someone she introduced as Jennifer, Editor of SurferGirl Magazine, who looked very uncomfortable. Fang said, "OK Steve, let's see 'em." Cautiously Steve lowered his baggies for the women to see. Fang said, "They don't look 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 his new 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, Steve. :)

The Seeker

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 night)

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