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existentialism and an email from dan webber – no relation to dewey

Dan’s the bloke who wrote Surfism, the fluid foundation of consciousness, a book for the Existential Surfer who wants to ponder how reality is put together moment by moment. Existential meaning affirming or implying the existence of a thing.

Thing meaning an object that one need not, cannot, or does not wish to give a specific name to. Like some of the blokes I used to know at North Avalon.

I think what Dan’s basically saying here is that when a bloke’s down the beach for whatever reason, and providing he keeps his eyes open and memory in good working order, he can come back home and spin an existential yarn or two about what’s happening down there.

Like today.

Geoff is a lanky, lugubrious, long-armed bloke with a ready grin, a collection of T shirts you wouldn’t polish your army boots with and set of wide-gapped tombstone teeth, We meet regularly on the beach, him walking south, me trudging north, the mostly deserted beach, but not today as there was a couple in the sand dunes, he was on his phone and she was lying on her back, pale and topless, slowly flubbing her right nipple with forefinger and thumb.

‘See that up there?’ asks Geoff, coming by, ‘the bloke and his sheila?’


‘What do you reckon?’

‘Four, mate.’

Geoff nods. Score acceptable. Moves on.

Then there are the clubbies on duty, youngsters, sitting in deckchairs on the club apron watching the sea. The beach has been closed for four days because of a big easterly swell and it doesn’t look like they have a lot on their hands so a bloke is wondering why they’ve not got a couple of trestles up there and are sanding back a few blanks, either that or collecting the daily wash-up of lost or discarded thongs and nailing them up to a thong tree.

Geoff said he lost his this morning, didn’t put them up high enough in the dunes and a they were washed away by a larger than usual wave, plus I saw a pair of pink ones a little further up the beach, they were lying beside the skeleton of a very large flathead, head intact but every particle of flesh eaten away by crabs. Now I know why eating a flathead means dealing with a lot of very small bones and it’s a pity the beach crabs aren’t bigger because I’d be eating them too.

One day I’m going to bury one of those babies then dig it up after a couple of years, see if the local lovely who runs the framing shop in town might want to be a partner in some existential beach art. You reckon, Dan?

And thanks for the heads up on An Archaeology of Surf by Melissa McCarthy. Appreciated.

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