The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm too [un]sexy for my shirt

You wouldn't know it today by looking at me but I was once rather handsome, they tell me. Never mind who they are. I was lean and wiry and tan. Quite tan.

It happened in my 19th year on this planet. That would be when I was 18 (do the math, folks, do the math) and "discovered" surfing... along with millions of others. I was a skinny kid, ribs easily counted, spindly legs, arms easily confused as loose threads hanging from my sleeves. I rarely wore short sleeved shirts or shorts, I was quite insecure about my body. I weighed about 130 lbs and stood 5'11" when I turned 18. Yup, scrawny. I identified closely with the character in the Charles Atlas ads... the one who got sand kicked in his face by the bully.

No matter what I did, I could not gain weight. I ate like any teenage boy, stuffing every kind of food imaginable in my gullet, but it never stuck to those really obvious ribs. Serious thoughts about tapeworms were voiced by my mother... who had the opposite problem. It was genetics at work. My father, at 6'4", weighed all of 140 lbs when my parents married. You are your parents, it seems.

Then I got hooked on surfing. I am not sure why. My first attempt left me with a fat lip from being hit by the board and a sunburn from too many hours in the sun for a body that had been mostly covered since I was a small child. Within 6 months, I had become a fair surfer and a deep, dark, reddish brown. The only part that wasn't tan was the palms of my hands, the soles of my feet, and the area from a few inches below my navel to a line about three inches down my legs.

My shoulders broadened and my waist narrowed. Paddling a surfboard and swimming quite a bit did that. But my arms stayed thin, my legs stayed spindly, and my ribs still poked out. My stomach was still not flat, I had no "6-pack abs", but it was close. I was lean and wiry. And very, very dark.

I learned, about a year into surfing, that no matter how tanned you got, you could still get sunburned. I spent about 8 hours in the water on an overcast day. It wasn't especially hot by south Florida standards, probably mid-80's, and you couldn't see the sun through the cloud layer. But that night I developed those bubbly blisters on my nose and cheeks just under my eyes. And some on my forearms. I did what any kid would do... I peeled the dead skin away to reveal the pink layer underneath. I looked a bit weird for a couple of days until those areas tanned again.

I still thought I was too skinny. And I thought I was not handsome. Until one evening when I was trying desperately to seduce a 15 year old girl from New Jersey, a tourist teen visiting Hallandale Beach with her parents. She talked about how sexy I looked paddling out into the waves that afternoon at the beach just down from her motel. Instead of dismissing her words as simple flattery I accepted them. To this day, I do not know why. Even so, I failed to accomplish my goal that night... probably to both our benefits.

I enlisted in the Navy a few months after that, weighing all of 133 lbs (officially). As much as I ate (and I gobbled food pretty much mindlessly then), I left the Navy 4 years later weighing about 145 lbs.

I mention all this because I noticed the other day that my weight was creeping up. I am not that skinny kid I once was. Yet I look in the bathroom mirror and that is who I see. Not the tanned surfer dude but the skinny little creep that he once was. The mind plays tricks on us all.


mickeycarroll said...

It was my 70th birthday and I decided to record this song entitled Old Dogs and share this with my Boomer friends . So far the response is to cool . its scheduled for Growing Bolder PBS /TV /Radio

Old Dogs

Up coming PBS TV Special preview link

All the best with your creative adventures Boomers Musings

Mickey Carroll
Grammy Nominee
Gold Record Recipient

Douglas4517 said...

I figure you are commenting in order to promote but I'll let that slide this
time. Especially after looking at your picture, you look like you could be a
member of my family.

Mickey Carroll said...

Thanks Duglas . You must have a good looking family

Douglas4517 said...

Yes, all the men are exceedingly handsome and the women are to be worshipped
as goddesses.