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Entry 40: Surfing and The Sundays ‘I vow that it’s goodbye and God bless’

March 17, 2012

Quick disclaimer: No I haven’t renounced my atheistic beliefs with the title of this 40th entry ;), nor am I saying ‘Goodbye’ to writing this blog…please read on…

I grew up surfing on the east coast. In many ways, surfing dictated how I lived my life from the time I met my assistant scoutmaster, Max Hastings, in the mid 1980’s, as a member of Troop 856, up to the day I stopped surfing in early 2001 to pursue a career, get married, and have a child. Ten years would pass before I’d be back in the water paddling on a piece of fiberglass to match the speed of an oncoming energetic wall of water.  It was a long time to wait, but in May 2011, the wait turned out to be worth it.

In April of last year I found out a coworker of mine who was living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas near me and my family was a surfer from Southern California.  He  invited me and my family to come down to his house in Southern California to go surfing at this one beach break near Encinitas, CA.  I wasn’t able to work it out to bring my wife and son, but I made the long trek down to Southern California in search of surf.  I was pretty nervous about getting into the water again.  I didn’t tell my coworker how long it had been until we started paddling out.  He looked at me askew and said, “Really?! Wow!”  The waves weren’t that big (thankfully!) and I was able to catch many that day.  Afterwards, my coworker said he was a little worried when I told him it had been 10 years since I’d been surfing and he was more wary of me out in the water just to make sure I didn’t drown.  While I was out in the water that day last May, I was able to jettison myself back to my teens growing up along the coast of South Carolina when I was on a board for the first time, feeling the power of the ocean beneath me.  Those were great memories to call back up.

My coworker also  invited another friend of his to go out that day; a guy who was really into music.

Out of the blue while we’re driving around looking for a good spot for an afternoon session, he mentions ‘The English Beat’, and how he liked those guys back in the 80’s.  I chimed in how I had listened to those guys too, along with ‘General Public’.  We shared some lyrics from songs we’d liked from these two bands, and then I asked him if he’d ever listened to ‘The Sundays’, being as ‘The English Beat’ and ‘General Public’ were British bands from the 80’s like ‘The Sundays’ (granted,very different styles of music, the latter being more indie pop than the ska and reggae influences on ‘The English Beat’ and ‘General Public’ sound).  He said he hadn’t listened to them, and I offered to send him a few web links to the band (see below): (my favorite, contains the quote above that titles this entry).

Until a few months ago, I had NEVER paid attention to the lyrics of that last song, ‘Goodbye’.  I’d always assumed that it was a song about saying goodbye to someone you love.  More on that in just a bit.

My earliest memory of The Sundays are of seeing their CD ‘Blind’ in my sister’s music collection. That little doll on the front cover  mesmerized me into putting the CD into the stereo.  I was on a ‘Vision Quest’ of sorts in 1993 (see previous entries 1 through 4 on this site, and the movie of the same name circa mid 80’s with Modine), and visiting my sister in VA where she was going to law school. I was immediately ‘hooked’ by the vocals of Harriet Wheeler, much like I imagine Odysseus was ‘hooked’ by the sound of the sirens on his epic journey.

It’s been 18 years since that experience, but as soon as the opening guitar chords are played I can put myself right back in my sister’s apartment and feel all the hope and promise of being in your early 20’s, wrapped up in the melancholy of knowing you’re in your 40’s, and 20 years have passed by in an instant.  Little did I know at the time I first heard this song what it would eventually mean to me today.

I looked up the lyrics and read them as the song was being played on YouTube.

These lines completely jumped off the page and slapped me in the face…

‘I vow that it’s goodbye to the old ways
those stories were a good read
they were dumb as well
I could never be seen
falling down on my knees crawling
o no, talk about a sell’

I haven’t heard back from this person if they started to get into ‘The Sundays’, but I can say that for me, now, this song captures the essence of a ‘Goodbye’ to faith, religion, spirituality, mysticism, you name it-ality/ism mantra.

Ironically, the two guys I went surfing with that day were and are very outspoken Christians. We talked briefly about our faith and lacktherof on my part while we were out in the water.  It was all good.  No heavy discussions.  Just, this is how I believe and I’m not going to try and get in your face with my beliefs.  Cordial.

Still amazed at how this one song with these powerful lines really sum up how I feel about the Bible now.  Good read, definitely not divine.  But, my oh my, what a wonderful selling job the Christians have done with this collection of stories.  You do have to marvel at just how much this book has permeated our entire culture as humans on this planet.  But, as The Sundays sing so eloquently, I must say, less eloquently, ‘Goodbye’.

Thanks for stopping by,


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