The Coast News Group

I am not a robot

Blame it on C-3PO and R2-D2. They were the first to make us believe robots were sentient, kind-hearted creatures who shared our feelings, victories and defeats as we clumsily attempted to negotiate the electronic minefield we humans had created.

Now, if AI has indeed become sentient by the time this article is published, I will have to apologize. Please know that I meant no disrespect.

I fully acknowledge my debt to your forebears, your distant cousins that I used to write this story, and the linked-at-the-hip hand-held device that serves my every whim. They have guided me to various destinations and been the medium for much amusement. They have also wrecked my mind until I cannot concentrate longer than 10 seconds at a time.

Where I once referred to them as a “second brain,” that is no longer the case. The brain in my head is now their servant.

There has been talk recently that you will soon become top dogs, and we will become your pets. Maybe so, but you will never have what we have. You see, some of the human sub-species called surfers have been in the tube.

I know that future AI models may surpass us and even the original A.I. (Andy Irons) in this respect. Your descendants will probably be capable of getting barreled before landing double Kerrupt flips at 30-foot Jaws.

They may slam into cutbacks that surpass even Curren’s Backdoor surgical slices. They may lay down bottom turns that make Barry Kanaiaupuni’s rail work look soft. They will be able to stay in the lineup without returning to the beach for food, water or sunscreen. Well, so what?

They will never drive to Baja in a rusty, duct-taped ’55 station wagon without seat belts, four bald tires and no spare, only to find a point break with no name, camp there for four days, ride waves until their arms rust off and never see another creature.

They will have never slump in the couches at the La Paloma Theatre for the open of “Five Summer Stories,” four beers in, flicking bottle caps and shouting until their lungs (do they have lungs?) ached.

They will never pass gas in a packed car and laugh until they can’t breathe. They will never place the latest copy of Surfer Magazine in the folds of a geography book and trick Ms. Flitner into believing they are studying.

They will never dream over an empty map wondering if that little dot surrounded by all that blue has waves. They will never spend every penny of their paper route earnings to have Ed Wright shape them the perfect board, have Gary Stuber glass it, Peter Pinline spray it, Kenny Mann sand it and Mark Donnellan buff it out.

They will never understand that Donnellan and Mann once ruled inside Swami’s or that it was once called Malcom’s Reef after the great Malcolm McCassy.

They will never get coral cuts or feel their hearts leap from their chests when the sky goes black and the last thing they think they’ll ever see is that city block of water known as West Peak Sunset as it unloads on them like it hated their haole guts.

Since you or they will never do any of these things, I suggest you download that old Billabong ad that says, “Only a Surfer Knows the Feeling.” Feeling, yeah, that’s the difference.

The thing we call stoke, something that, to my knowledge, only resonates from a human heart.

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