How to be terrible
in order to get better
Time in the Water
Learning to surf.
I was told a simple rule: Kooks and kids go to the beach.
The beach is where you go to learn. Where you’re out of the way.
The spots at the many reefs and point breaks in the area? You need to be able to surf at least a little to hang out there.
But at the beach with the kids?
When I was learning to surf,
I was struck by all of the small ones and how quickly they progressed.
They are bouncier when they’re little my wife remarked.
They don’t notice as much. The stares of the others. The positioning. The status games. The wave chasing.
Surfing isn’t as simple as just paddling into a wave. There are whole, unspoken, complex social structures to navigate.
Unless you’re a kid. Then you get to go splash around. Care free.
I stated surfing later than most. I was 37. When I could, I went every day.
I was terrible for a long time. Just absolute garbage. Time after time I would go and not catch a thing. All I would do was fall. And I was obsessed. I started experimenting with and shaping my own surfboards. They were terrible. The genre has an impressive history and lineage that I did not want to step into. And? Like any kook shaper with a piece of foam and a rasp? I went fully into it. I built my own boards.
I watched all of the classic movies
I turned up my nose at the competitive surf contests.
I surfed lakes Ontario, Huron, Superior and Erie
Doing all of this I learned.
The waves got bigger and I learned.
Just showing up, I learned.
I learned where to park. I learned who to sit next to. I learned how to paddle. Eventually, I made friends and learned about secret spots and got invited places. After 10 years of showing up on a regular basis? People know me.
I have a spot in the lineup.
I get my waves and am happy to share them with the rest of the crowd.
The way to earn your spot in the lineup?
Time in the water.
Surfing is a container for expression.
Getting good comes from time in the water.
Time in the water comes from committing to being terrible.
Committing to being terrible comes from ignoring the status games and shame that adults can carry with them.
Committing to being terrible comes from being able to treat yourself as a ‘young offender’ and be lenient with your punishment of yourself.
More on what being terrible looks like and how to do it will be coming soon
A message from the cops in my head
Do you realize what you did last time?
Do you have any idea what they are thinking about you?
You were out of line. You hurt their feelings.
You were greedy and incons-
Only two weeks of hearing from the cops in my head and I’m sick of them.
They are now fully defunded.
Time to make this middle section a new section.
I’ll just add a line and do that meow then.
The Saddest Nine words - a poem found in reply all
We will not be using our second seat tomorrow
(by a man who recently lost his wife in reply to who would be coming to his sons hockey game)
One Derful thing
For this one?
Double up on masks.
You’ll need one for your mouth and nose
Another to cover your eyes.
Start half a mile from home.
Have a friend, someone you super trust - with your life.
Walk home with your eyes closed and covered.
Let your support person guide you.
Let them be your eyes.
Let them lead you home.
Who comes to mind?
Who could do this with you?
Go do it.
And once they’ve brought you home?
Return the favour and let me know how it goes.