There was a time when I tended a convenience store on Padre Island. Once, I caught a guy shoplifting. Totally ungroomed, foot-long beard and hair, ragged denim shorts and a t-shirt I wouldn't use as a grease rag on a decent car. He explained in a vegged out manner that it was OK for him to shoplift, and live in a wrecked car behind the dunes, and get his wardrobe off clotheslines at night. The world owed him that. Why? Because he was a surfer, and surfing was the path to inter-cosmic enlightenment. By becoming one with the wind and the waves, he absorbed the essence of nature and could radiate it to others. He knew that some day, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev would come to the beach and he would show them how to catch the wave together, thus ending the Cold War and beginning a new age of harmony and lots of casual sex.

Just looking and listening, I could not believe that he was putting me on. He was 100% serious. So I told him the cops would never understand, and to just rock on. I paid for the two-dozen-odd Slim Jims myself. He called me soul brother, gave me his blessing and said that when the One True Wave came, babes would be all over me.

My thanks to David Scott (dscott8 at cfl dot rr dot com)
for giving me permission to retell his story here.

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