by Corky Carroll
So, I was sitting on my deck last night with my lifetime pal, and neighbor, Tim “the Iguana” Dorsey, chit chatting about how another year has slipped by in the blink of an eye. When you get as old as us they go way faster than when you are a kid. The Iguana and I have known each other for over 60 years. When I was a little kid, just starting to learn to surf, he was one of the big-name surf heroes in our area. He was part of the Seal Beach crew that would sometimes come and surf out in front of my house in Surfside. Most of them were kinda mean to me, I was kinda over exuberant in those days and probably asked too many questions and talked too much. But Tim was always really friendly and a good guy. He became a lifeguard and his job was to patrol the beach in Surfside in the evenings. On his nightly patrol he always made it a point of stalling out in front of our house until my mom would see him. This would naturally be met with the nightly invite in for dinner. She would bring us TV dinners, which we would eat on TV trays in front of the TV in the living room. Tim would park the lifeguard jeep right outside the door so he could hear if he got a call. I would be in like my pajamas and bathrobe and we would watch something like “Highway Patrol,” with Broadrick Crawford. I think Tim sort of saw himself as the lifeguard version of that.
These days most nights (I like the way that sounded) he and I hang out on my deck having a “Corkarita”and talking about all the people that have passed through our lives over the years, adventures we had had together and separately, and who is the latest friend, or not, that has hit the big banana peel (as he likes to call it) and moved on to the next phase. When you get our age, actually he is way way older than me, it gets more and more frequent to have to say, “Ahh man, guess who pulled out today?” Then we toast them and tell whatever stories we know about them. Just part of the daily conversations in our “Geezers gone wild” real life reality show. He always says he likes to read the “obits” just to make sure we aren’t in there.
One of the many things I love about the Iguana is that he has a sense of humor that is close to mine. Somehow we can turn even the most bummer of events into some sort of joke and laugh about it. Like when we find out one of our childhood pals is really sick and might not make it. First the mood is dark, and we are lamenting. But somehow then comes something like, “yeah, remember when he picked up that chick in the Long Bar in T.J. and it turned out to be a guy? He made out with him/her for 20 minutes before he figured it out, hahahahaha.” Then we toast him and send him a get-well message, bringing up the story. It might not be politically correct, but it lightens the mood. And, truth be known, neither of us has even been all that politically correct in the first place. It is a good thing we are not around anybody who would quote us on most of the subjects we talk about (yikes, except for me), with the way things are these days it could be a problem. But, I am guessing it is the same with most people.
We do talk about surfing most of the time, and surf people. After all, that is who we are. Tim started on a hollow paddleboard and me on a heavy solid balsawood plank, in the mid 1950’s. We watch kids in the shorebreak in front of my house getting air on modern boards and debate about how we could be doing that if we would have had that kind of equipment when we started. Not really debate, we both are sure we could, we just argue about who would be getting higher.
So, there we were in our normal deck chairs talking about yet another year going into the books. Guys coming close to riding 100 foot waves, Kelly Slater still competing on a world class level at 46 years old, who has to pee more times a night than the other, how it would be fun to try out one of those “foils” on the outside reef in front of the house (“Corkyland”), and other important, or not, topics that come to play at the end and beginning of another year. Like, “I am really gonna get in better shape this year.” “Hahahahahaha, yeah right.”
Somehow the evening always ends with, “O.K., lets surf in the morning, a new swell is gonna be filling in.” Of course, it’s harder and harder to get him to paddle out, but when he does he can still shred. It’s great to have a real true lifelong surf pal.