All was right with the world. It was a perfect summer day and I was walking wet-suited with good spring in my step across the sand, my 9′-4″ custom tucked under my arm. It was one of those rare occasions when Popham Beach was “going off,” serving up clean and glassy 3-5 footers.
As I approached the break and prepared to secure the leash to my right ankle, I encountered a couple of bright-eyed kids — 10 or 11ish maybe — who began peppering me with questions:
– “Can you really ride those standing up?” (Me: “Sometimes.”)
– “Will you fall out there?” (“Most definitely. That’s how you learn.”)
– “Are you sponsored?” (“No.”)
– “Does that wetsuit keep you warm.” (“I may even get too hot out there today.’)
And so on….
They could barely contain their excitement and it took me back to my youth in the land-locked Lakes Region of New Hampshire when I would listen to Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys on AM radio and wonder about a lot of the same questions these kids were asking.
Then they asked, “How old are you, anyway?”
I grinned and replied, “How old do you think I am?” They stopped talking and began to studiously look me over from head to toe.
As they focused their answer, I confidently wondered whether their under-estimate of my 56 years would be by a factor of decades or mere years. You see, I work-out a lot and while my regular routines of basketball, lacrosse, running, and surfing spring primarily from a motivation to have fun, I also like the fact that this daily activity offers a “two-fer” in the form of some occasional mist from the Fountain of Youth. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all relative. I know that my regimen would likely make a Weekend Warrior cringe and an Ironman triathlete laugh in condescension. Anyway…
So, the kid looks me right in the eye and says, “60.”
All of a sudden it became a lot harder to bend over and fasten that velcro strap on the leash. Before I was good to go, those kids had moved on to some other vict…er…person.
Kids…Art Linkletter was right. School starts this week. Onward, Malcolm Gauld