Last Sunday I was sitting in Astoria’s Steve & Andrew cafe, having breakfast down on the waterfront. It was a gorgeous day, the pancakes were more like breadcakes but extremely tasty, and all was right with the world.
“You should go surfing in India,” proclaims the surferdude at the next table. He’s an older guy, maybe 35, bald, well-muscled and proselytizing to an eager wave of young acolytes.
“India…great wave action and there are like 30 people in the water for every surfer. They’re just out there swimming, catching fish or something,” he says expansively, “It’s fantastic.”
And he waits for it.
“I don’t get it,” an acolyte finally says, “Why is having a bunch of swimmers in the way so fantastic?”
“Yeah, the swimmers get in the way,” grins surferdude, “…of sharks. That’s why we call ’em sharkbait.”
His questioner, maybe 20, with straggly sunbeached locks and a wiry form, looks skeptical.
“It’s true,” insists surferdude, “The swimmers run interference for the surfers, so the sharks won’t bother you. Every so often one of ’em’s even got a wooden leg. I’ve seen it. Sharkbit.”
His girlfriend, with a half-finished floral tattoo dancing up her arm, looks amused. And I can’t tell if this guy is serious or not.