Surf Report: What Would Your Candidate Ride?
It's going to be a long seven months until the general election. The two Democratic contenders are in it for the long haul while the presumptive Republican nominee rests up for what promises to be one of the best cage matches of the decade. The old guy versus who? The black guy? The white chick? Only time will tell. As we await the outcome of the Democratic race, Americans grow wearier every day. He said that. She said this. Squabble, squabble, squabble.
Can't we all just get along?
In a twisted attempt to find light where there is darkness, to find joy in the midst of misery, I devised a way to remain upbeat throughout the remainder of this election season. It's all about make-believe, baby. I don't think McCain, Obama or Clinton is a surfer, but what if he (or she) was? What would each one of them surf?
A 71 year old dude is limited in his choice of weaponry. At this point in his life, McCain would have no option but to surf a longboard, a long longboard given his medical issues. He'd fit right in at any break where the older surfers hang out and talk story while embracing the spirit of the "Old Guys Rule" t-shirts on their backs.
In his youth, McCain would certainly have been the Alpha Male in the lineup. Look at his stance on the Iraq war. Ain't no half-steppin' in John McCain's world. He's got what I call the "bleed until we succeed" approach to the war. As far as he's concerned, we can't leave and we won't leave . . . until we win. Sounds like the attitude of a big wave surfer to me. They like to say "Eddie Would Go". Well, if Eddie would, so would John. He don't need no stinkin' Jet Ski. McCain would be one of those guys who charged Waimea Bay or Mavericks under his own power. McCain makes Laird look like a sissy (albeit a thick-necked, barrel-chested, married to a gorgeous woman sissy, but a sissy nonetheless). Can't you just hear it? Had they been surfing contemporaries, Laird would have bragged about paddling 30 miles in the morning before surfing for six hours later the same day. "Oh yeah?" McCain would say. "I spent six years as a POW in 'Nam. Now who's your daddy?"
One friend I spoke to about the topic of this column said, "Hillary would be a tourist on a soft top funboard, too much of a policy wonk to ever really surf." He may be correct. However, I must remind one and all that the rule of this mind game is to assume the candidates can surf, then decide what each one would ride and why. Are you still with me?
I see Clinton first on a shortboard and later on an SUP (stand up paddle surfboard). Remember, she's no shrinking violet. Clinton is not afraid to mix it up with the big boys. She doesn't seem to be afraid of much of anything. That's the kind of woman (or girl) you find riding shortboards. It's not uncommon, when looking at the mainstream surf magazines, to see a picture of a woman tearing it up on a shortboard and the caption will say, "She surfs better than you." Clinton went to Wellesley for her undergraduate degree and then moved on to Yale Law School. She's served in the U.S. Senate for seven years.
When she paddles out, whether it is literally in the lineup or figuratively on the floor of the Senate, she's prepared to throw some stinkeye. Get out of her way and get off her wave! She's not going to back down . . . ever! That's the kind of tenacity you need to ride a potato chip.
The SUP is a perfect wave-riding vehicle for her because the SUP surfers are such an irritation to everyone else in the lineup. The irritation stems, in large part, from jealousy. The SUP surfers catch everything long before the rest of the lineup can see it coming. When surfers on traditional boards see the SUP surfers on those gigantic boards coming down the line, they (the surfers on traditional boards) get out of the way. All Clinton wants, it seems, is for that damn Obama to get out of the way. See the connection?
This one was relatively easy. A hybrid person is bound to ride a hybrid board of some sort. (Was that a politically incorrect assumption? My bad.) The friend mentioned earlier suggested that "Obama would be on a quad because he's slippery!"
Obama is the type that everyone in the lineup likes. He has a good attitude and seems above the normal confrontations that take place in a lineup. However, Obama has a dark side. (That was a terrible pun, wasn't it? I'd love to say I did it on purpose. I didn't.) If you attempt to drop in on him, he'll spray you. No stinkeye. No angry words. Just spray. And he'll spray you every time he surfs by, smiling the entire time.
Now that I've seen Obama play basketball on this week's Real Sports on HBO, it's obvious he wouldn't be caught dead on either a shortboard or a longboard. I see him on a single fin egg or a retro single fin, boards neither McCain nor Clinton can handle.
What do you think the candidates would surf?