Letters to the Editor! Wheeeeeeeeee! Photo courtesy of the guardian.com
This intro is more for the younger folks who read this. I know you are aware of how things were so different thirty years ago or earlier and believe me; they were! I grew up in a time when our current society was taking shape and it was an ungraceful entrance. Today, technology flows in a seamless manner. In the day, technology was great for you. But only in certain times and moments. Then it was a battle. A terrible battle between other devices of technology and other people. Nothing flowed. For example, your home computer was fighting your phone. If someone called your phone while you were on the computer; you could be booted off! How is that for fun!
Another aspect to remember was that we did not have e-mail for the most part and very few cell phones existed in the 1980s. So you did a lot of writing. And visiting the Post Office. And waiting.
If you read an article in a newspaper or in a magazine, you wrote a letter about it and maybe it was printed in the Letters to the Editor section. That was about 6 months later! So nothing was fast or instantaneous.
Oh the dark ages of humanity!
John was a local surfing kid who ran his mouth a bit to much for our liking. He would tell us how great he was and when we asked him to paddle out; an excuse would come about.
We knew John well. And we knew his car. So imagine the delight when we drove by a very packed beach and saw his car in the parking lot!
We pulled in and it was a dream scenario. People littered the sea and shore and John was catching mediocre wave after mediocre wave. I also just happened to have my Kodak Instamatic camera.
Wading out, we mixed right in with the red tourists and stood a few yards from John. A wave swung in and the pictures were taken. Laughing, we ran out of the water and drove to the nearest Photo-mat to have our pictures developed.
A few days later, they were ours. Tim, Joe, and myself set out to write the perfect letter to the editor and we addressed ourselves as Zim, Finn, and Shim in a homage to The 3 Stooges.
A Mere 6 Months Later!
The phone rings!
You suck!! You guys are assholes!!!
John was not happy at all.
What is wrong?
You know what you did! John was now reaching a boiling point. So I got in the car and drove to the store.
There was our letter printed in Surfer Magazine! With a picture of John R. clumsily riding in some white water.
As for the letter, it basically hailed John as Florida’s new surfing hero. It contained overly dramatic descriptions of his skills and his rides such as he rose to his feet in exhaltation like a Hawaiian king and how his style even challenged the greats like Mickey Dora. The accompanying picture showed how much of a joke the letter was and the fine folks at Surfer Magazine must found our character assassination witty enough to print.
Needless to say, John did not speak with us for a while.
After this innocuous birth, a small fire was ignited in us. Someone from a magazine actually thought we were funny and this one letter was a ticket to popularity. So after a surf session, we sat down and penned another letter and mailed it out.
Just as quick as that (six months later!), another letter made an appearance in the magazine.
The frenzy began!
Letters. Stamps. Stardom!