Why Me? Why Write? Why Now? Why Not?

The Me is Doug Curran…Douglas M Curran…Douglas Metcalf Curran. Douglas is Celtic for “dweller by the dark stream”. Curran in Gaelic means “little spear”. And Metcalf? Scottish for “I met a calf”? Hey I don’t know! I don't have all the answers. I'm still trying to get the questions right. At least I seem to be a spear fisher by some dirty water. Or maybe I'm a Druid. And that Curran thing may not even be as Irish as my Irish American wife, Colleen Fitzsimmons, hoped it was when she married me. Ok, I might be a Viking. It's like this. I was reading this book, The Lion Of Ireland, see, and the author, Morgan Llewellyn, recounts a last battle between Brian Boru and the Viking invader king, to regain Irish dominance again throughout the island and kick the fureners out. The Viking king's name? Olaf Cuaran? Cuaran? Curran? I'm a Viking now, so I am? And a descendent of one of those marauding and murderous pillagers and plunderers? I've never pillaged a thing in my life...well, maybe a book or two from somebody. I'm really just a gentle giant who loves books and music. Ok, I bought a sword recently, but only as a wall decoration to enhance my Irish family history coat of arms! Honest! Viking, Schmiking, so rest my Irish soul! Or my wife will have my old bald Irish head!

August 27, 2010

Surf's Up...But I Was Never Up for The Surf!

Yeah, while channel surfing the other night, I happened upon some extreme surfing movie. It's fun to watch but I could never actually get into it. I even had my chance when I lived in Hawaii for ten years. There I was, living on Oahu's famous North Shore, a few minutes drive from Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay - and the BANZAI PIPELINE!!! Can you believe it, we could go up the road a few miles and catch some of the biggest waves in the world.

As if!! Can you say "undertow"??? What do you think Banzai means in Spanish anyway? Suicide, that's what!! We would go there sometimes just to watch the waves crash over the road and see helicopters trying to rescue stranded surfer wannabes out there in those giant undulating walls and towers of treacherous salty brine. But actually try to surf out there myself?

Come on, really, not with this white-skinned, flabby, haole body! First, I wanted to live. And B, there was no time. I had a lot of responsibilities at BYU-Hawaii where I taught and administered programs, many of which were on the weekend. And three, I was also the father of a growing hoard of kids which sometimes needed me - we brought four kids to Hawaii and had four more at Kahuku hospital - but not all at once. Colleen was good at delivering babies, but not THAT good!

Sure, we'd take them to the beach for a little scratchy sand and sunburn fun, but it was not cool to get squashed and crumpled and mutilated by a monster wave right in front of my little kids while pretending to be a beach bum surfer dude with a big ego. And what's more, I didn't even own a surfboard. Ok, I bought a beat up one once just to see if I could stay on it - but it wound up being a play thing for the kids, me giving them rides on it in shallow water, while I watched for blue bubbles and manta rays and hoped I didn't die from the stinging sickness like that "krikes" Aussie guy from "down under" - not under the surf, under the equator - whatever.

Hawaii has a great surfing tradition of course, including that famous surfing legend, Duke Kahanamoku, who could put all those other guys to shame if he were still alive - even if he weren't alive too I think. I'm just glad I can pronounce his name...Ka-ha-na-mo-ku! But this dumb haole didn't need to get any dumber by attempting stupid heroic deeds on a surfboard for traditions' sake. Not that I couldn't have hung ten - my toes were as long as some people's fingers. I had plenty of toe length. But that's where my qualifications ended.

I also had this big yellow streak down my back that caused me to lean over too much and not maintain proper surfboard balance. Even body surfing and using boogie boards didn't work for me. I would have had to go out too far to catch any decent waves - like 10 feet at least. Luckily my wife didn't require me to be a showoff for her and attempt any macho nonsense. She also had that same local haole disease, bigwaveophobia.

Even snorkeling was a trial for me. One time we were with some friends at our local beach and the men wanted to snorkel out to the reef. I had my trusty mask and snorkel, but no fins. They didn't make them for my size feet though some would say my feet WERE fins! And without fins would make all the difference. But I thought I'd be one of the guys and follow them out there anyway, at least attempt a small feat of daring for my kids.

Pretty soon, I was sucking down salt water and choking and gasping half way to the reef - and decided to swallow my pride instead of any more water and turn back, barely making it to the beach without calling for my wife to give me mouth to mouth. As if!!! Naaah, jes' kidding, deah. Anyway, nothing for my kids to be proud of, but at least I'm still around to write about it.

Surfing? Obviously an addiction for some guys and gals around those waves. And I admire their feats of skill and ability in the water, those amazing and thrilling rides through those giant water tunnels. Yes, some get wiped out and crash, some hit their heads on boards, some don't make it up from under the water and go to surfer heaven. I haven't found a sport or adventure that I was willing to risk my life for, just for the thrill - especially surfing those famous, killer waves of Hawaii.

So it's been some 25 years since we've been gone from those magical beaches. I still prefer my Utah snow-capped mountain scapes and clear lakes though, that high, dry air and those cool nights. And I've yet to do that surfing thing even on a snowboard. Call me crazy, call me nuts, but now that I'm in my late sixties, I'll stick to no-risk channel surfing and a little action on the Net - that's about my speed, no broken bones, and I'm not too proud to admit it...right, kids? As if!!!

1 comment:

  1. I remember you taking us out on that yellow surf board, while we'd all hang on for dear life. Oh, those blue bubbled, how I hated them! They were sure cool to look at, but not to touch.