The TRUE Invisible Surfer Man Story

This whole thing happened last summer. About mid-August 2009. I was driving my JEEP down to meet with the BEACH & PARK authorities to discuss the recent rash of Surfer problems. I was there to represent the Surfers. I thought being a civic leader in the seacoast and having been surfing these beaches since the mid 60's, I'd have a good solid handle on why SURFING is so important to all of us here in the community, and really beyond. From Canada to Florida, people come here to visit our beaches and surf our waves.

As I was driving south on Ocean Blvd., I was coming up to 10th Street. I had a 3:00PM appointment and it was approx around 2:45PM. As I slowed down looking for a parking space I observed the individual above ISM (Invisible Surfer Man).

When he (ISM) saw me, he pretended to raise a pretend rifle and take aim at my head as I drove slowly by. Not a point your finger like a pistol gesture. But a rifle. Or shotgun, or some kind of war weapon. I immediately felt uncomfortable. Because he held his pretend rifle aimed at my head for the entire time I drove by. For the record, I parked between 10th and 9th street. That whole time ISM had his make believe rifle aimed at my head. Like Lee Harvey Oswald or something.

When I parked my vehicle I walked up to the cross walk where ISM was about to cross with a friend. I made small talk with his friend and then asked ISM. "So what was that all about?" "What was what all about?" He answered. "Why were you pretending to shoot me as I drove by?" I replied in a calm voice. He then looked put off and stammered "I was not pretending to shoot you, I just had you in my sights." "Had me in your sights?" I asked. "Yes I had you in my sights." He abruptly stated. "Why would you have me in your sights?" He looked at me and said "No reason, I just had you in my sights." I looked back at him and his friend.

"I don't get it ISM. You had me in your sights for what? Are we at War? You were not pretending to shoot me, you just had me in your sights?" I asked again. Looking for the obvious answer that apparently ISM was incapable of giving me. "That's right, I just had you in my sights." He answered again this time with a smirk on his face.

I looked at my watch and realized my appointment was was getting closer and this "Other" issue was getting no where near resolved. "I'll tell you what ISM, I'll let you think about your answer, and the next time I see you, I hope you have a better explanation." I told him looking him straight in the eye. "OK" he said as he ran across the street.

Two weeks later, I was shooting the surf at 10th Street. The wind had just come onshore pretty hard and it was getting overcast. I decided to call it a day. When I notice ISM come running across the street carrying his longboard. I called out to him. " ISM you have minute?" He kept running and said "I really don't Ralph, I want to catch a few waves before the wind gets on it." Looking at people we both knew standing there, and with the wind blowing really hard onshore, I stated the obvious. "The wind is already on it." He kept running. "You really don't have a minute to speak with me?" I asked.
"I really don't." he shot back.

I then walked near the stairs, as he was attaching his leash and in a hushed voice, I said just loud enough for him to hear only. "Just two words and this thing is over." He stands up and looks at me. "Two words." I say again. He just stands there. "I'm sorry." He looks at me and says nothing, and then he turns and heads for the onshore slop.
I yell out to him, as he scurries across the sand "I'm sorry Ralph." He never looked back.

Now I am mad. But more than that, I am hurt. I've known this guy since he was a kid. I have always had a sort of a humorous relationship with him. But this shooting me gesture really made me feel uncomfortable. I couldn't believe he just couldn't say he was sorry for making me feel uncomfortable and move on with our lives.

It should of been no big deal. A no brainer.

A few weeks go by and I am out surfing when ISM paddles by me. He is within a few feet of me. He looks at me and then looks away. "What you're not going to talk to me?" Silence.
"Are you kidding me? You're not speaking to me?" I say as I paddle up to him. He just stares out to sea. "You can't look me in the eye and just say I'm sorry Ralph, that was a bad joke, I'm sorry I made you feel uncomfortable by pretending to shoot you.?" He yells back at me "I was not pretending to shoot you, I just had you in my sights!"

"Look do you know how ridiculous that sounds?" I yell back. "Having me in your sights or pretending to shoot me, is irrelevant. I was uncomfortable. I've known you for years. Our friendship means nothing? You can't say I'm sorry just to save our friendship?" I pleaded. He looks at me and says "I have NOTHING TO BE SORRY FOR!"

"Look I'm going to give you one last chance. Regardless of what you think you were doing that day. I was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable with you pretending to have a gun in the first place. Whether you just thought you had me in your sights or whatever. It's freaking weird. Why would you do that?" I look at him waiting for something. Anything.

But he just sits there, staring out to sea.

"You won't tell me your sorry? Our friendship means nothing? " I ask. Nothing. Just the same old "I have nothing to be sorry for, I just had you in my sights." He says. "You're an attorney" I say..."would you pretend to shoot, or have a Police Officer in your sights?"
Nothing. Just stone silence on his board. "Why is it OK to pretend to shoot a war Veteran? Or have a War Veteran in your sights?" Nothing.

"ISM this is your last chance. I am not going to ask you again. I've had friends go to their graves with us never speaking again. I'm asking you one last time. We will never speak again after this. A simple 'I'm sorry Ralph' and we move on." But I get Nothing. I looked at him and waved my hand and said "See ya..." and paddled away.

Yea I said some hurtful things that last day and I am sorry about that. But I still for the life of me, can't understand why he couldn't man up and say a simple "I'm sorry." Hell I say I'm sorry all the time.

The whole invisible thing came up a few days after, when a friend asked me if he could upgrade him to Invisibility status. I said "sure why not". Then one thing lead to another, and I started to see him at the wall and and thought, why not take a few photos and photoshop him. Then something wild happened. People loved the Invisible Man series. They couldn't get enough of it. Hell most people had no idea why I was doing it. But they loved it.

The way I looked at it was. I was not pretending to shoot him with my camera. I just had him in my sights."

So in closing, the last shot was ironically him shooting me with his camera. Funny. But in light of the recent shootings, and this being Veterans Day I thought I would share this story with you, so you could have the TRUE story on why this happened. He now joins a short list of ex-friends who are no longer on my radar.

Just as well, my friend quota was overflowing any ways. I needed to make some room to allow some new friends into the fold.

And don't worry, the Invisible man Series will continue, but it will be the BLATANT DROP IN OF THE WEEK Perp. Now that will be fun to do.

Surfing Heals All Wounds.