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.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Are those teeth marks in your leg?

When I was a young man of 18-19, I was a "surfer dude." It was not hard to be one. After all, I lived near the ocean, I was healthy, and I wasn't doing anything really important in life. Surfing was also the Big Thing in those days. Some friends brought me into it. I am no longer sure how. I was a night owl type when I turned 18 and slept most of the day when not in school (maybe even then, too) and not especially athletic or sports-minded.

Some friends managed to coax me out anyway. I came down to a beach and watched one day, was egged on and dared into trying it and got hooked. What actually happened was one friend loaned me a board (they were 9-10 feet long then, not these little things you see today, and heavier) and told me to try it. Naturally, the board got away from me at some point and I learned how not to retrieve it. When I went to grab the board, it got popped up by a small wave and smacked me in the mouth. First lesson: always have the waves at your back when you reach for a loose board.

Not one to let something get the best of me, I took up the sport in earnest.

I got tanned... very tanned. I bought a surfboard. I made a surfboard rack for my car (couldn't afford to buy one after buying the surfboard), I started listening to the Beachboys. It took me a few months to get reasonably proficient at catching waves and performing simple maneuvers. It took balance and agility; two things I lacked at the time. I got healthier, the healthiest I had ever been. And braver, too. I took risks. I gained confidence. I got fairly good at it.

I got a few bumps, bruises, and scratches along the way. Trying to walk over coral barefoot is not a lot of fun. Having a surfboard land on your head after being tossed up by a wave actually doesn't hurt... right away. The psychic pain of watching a borrowed surfboard fly off the roof of your car at 70 MPH is deep. Standing on south Florida beaches or roadways in your bare feet will blister your soles. These are lessons you learn along the way.

A couple of things never got comfortable for me. One of them is that there are creatures under the surface of the ocean who view you as possible food. I had seen a few of these. I had a friend who lost a swim fin to a barracuda. I saw sharks a little too close for comfort, even had one slide under my foot while I sat on my board off Canaveral Pier. Didn't see him (the water was very murky that day) but felt him. These things eventually kept me out of the ocean at night.

But at least I didn't have to deal with things like this:
Anomalocaris, lived about 500 Million years ago.

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