I’m sixty years old today and if I were to die right now this is what an observant forensics expert might find: hair, naturally brown, once bleached blond by the sun, now blanced white, is dried and split at its ends. Several scars, one running from my right occipital arch leading down onto the bridge of the nose, one horizontal just under the hairline above the left eye, both caused, apparently, by a blow from a sharp object. Ear canals show only just a hint of bony external exostosis, “Surfer’s Ear”, but the right timpani shows a small perforation scar in its lower right quadrant. Nasal cavities indicate affects of chronic sinusitis; the nose itself is sunburned. Lower lip shows a lateral chronic lesion due to sun exposure. Both eyes exhibit pterygium growth on schlera, brought on by excessive exposure to glare and wind, right eye more pronounced. C-5 and C-6 cervical vertebra exhibit bone spur growth due to prolonged hyper-flexion. Muscles of the back—latissimus dorsi and deltoid—overdeveloped, creating a muscular imbalance between the back and undeveloped frontal pectoralis group. Over development also evident in upper head of triceps lateralis on both upper arms. Light sub- scapular abrasions under both armpits. Old navicular bone fracture in left wrist; fractures across right three metacarpal bones of the right hand. Hands more tanned than rest of arm. Band of white skin circles left wrist. Fifth rib, left side, cracked. Knobby calcium Oglo-Slatter’s* Condition, on left sternum. Light, scabbed abrasions across rib-cage epidermis. Legs feature over-developed quadriceps lateralis, and include a partially torn medial-collateral liga ment on right leg, indicating multiple injuries. Patellar chondromalacia indicated by rough underside of both kneecaps. Oglo-Slatter’s Condition apparent on patellar surface of left knee. Both upper and lower legs characterized by numerous scars in various stages of healing. Left ankle shows extensive scarring indicative of a complete Achilles tendon re-construction. Ankle on right leg features band of white, untanned skin circling just above the ankle bone. Feet muscular with broad square toes, metatarsal bones splayed, both left and right, indicative of lack of proper shoe support. Extreme callous development on both heel and ball of both feet. A foreign object removed from beneath left big toe, proving to be the small tip of a sea urchin spine. Right big toe is stubbed.
It’s a surfer’s body I’m living in, but one the Beach Boys never sang about. But it’s a surfer’s life I’m living in, too, and the Beach Boys never sang about it either. Because I’m sixty years old now. I have four surfboards, a bike with a board rack and four pair of surf trunks, three of them damp. I live in a small studio, with a tiny deck that peeks out over the Pacific Ocean. And every time I look out over that blue expanse I realize that surrounded by some of the most expensive real estate on earth, and some of the wealthiest people, I’m a rich man. Because passion comes in waves.