Monday, April 14

Fallen Heroes;

Mr. Mack was on “it”.  It was summer time … in the day when summer school was where the remedial kids collected along with some of the earlier rather’d work than stay home mom’s kids.  It was shop class and Mr. Mack was explaining how on the right day … with the right craftsmanship … and the right conditions it was indeed possible to fly one of the proposed hand launch gliders over the freeway.  At a distance of ½ mile plus… and my only perspective was a paper airplane.  This was just out of hand.  The class said no way … and Mr. Mack said “Well Robert did it” all eyes to Robert who could not refute the deed … and the legend began.

There are so many things that Robert inspired its hard to pick just what would be appropriate … but this might just qualify.  Robert taught me how to surf.  Not in the mechanical sense… in the spiritual sense. 

There was one day in particular.  Robert convinced his sister to take us to the beach … but the condition was that she had other stuff to do while we surfed, and would pick us up when she was done (I’m thinking it was a class at SC … but that was a long time ago).  It was cold … really cold and super windy.  We hit the water and enjoyed ourselves ....  the water part really wasn’t memorable I probably barely made it outside and got cleaned up eventually.  The memorable and cool part  was freezing my butt off afterwards … no plan… no immediate idea.  Robert was an absolute genius at improvising.  He took a look at the situation… we got what cash we had together and did a liquor store run and to my surprise … spent the next couple of hours at the “the whale of a wash” with all the dryers kicking out heat it was really an enjoyable time.  The atomic shivering went away … and I just remember how much fun it was to be there.

The idea I’m trying to get across is that this whole zen concept of “surfing” “going surfing” and staying in the moment is something that Robert really set in motion.    There were a host of other things that he just rocked at but I never could.

1)  Nose wheelying… he was the king

2) Fly away kick out

3) Ditch it… he just had the knack

4) Fearlessness … I still tell people the story of Jumping off Dana without even looking down during a ferocious game of ditchit.  (20+feet down)

5)  mechanical aptitude … he’s the first guy that could actually make stuff I wanted to make

6)  Getting the girl…

7)  The best stories … even now if you google him you get some ridiculously funny comments that he’s made.  My favorite was his car having an electrical problem that created a fire while he was in a desolate part of PV … taking off his shirt … it catching on fire …  and leaving him with out car or shirt in the middle of the night…  The way he told it … and the way he laughed … you couldn’t help but to laugh along.

8)  The love of the road trip… he took me on my first road trip for surfing … as I remember it we made it down to imperial beach down in san diego … checking every spot along the way… the surf sucked … but the surf almost always does on a road trip.

9)  The fly away kick out… Robert had the ugliest blue board that had been fixed with this huge orange patch (huge).  On the big ugly days he loved to drop in … take the bottom turn and just launch this board in a fly away kick out.  Everyone on the beach would know that he was out from hundreds of yards away.

10)  Sunflower seeds… he was the king… sitting on the beach … cooking in the hot sun … there is a way to do it.  A correct way… and my way is still inspired by Robert’s way.

If I can imagine what Roberts up to… I’d like to think that he’s pursuing his sense of fun and has probably made it way over the freeway by now.