Be you, Or be just another cow,

Dear Manish,

Hey what’s happening kid? If you’re reading this it means you just turned 16 so happy birthday dude. And since I’m you, I know that you will be continuing our tradition of disappearing to some random beach and just lying there all day, so just watch out for the crazy homeless guy who will chase you down the beach because you looked at his can funny. Anyway, if I remember correctly being 16 was an interesting year for me … I mean you. Well it’s going to be a tough year for you so I figured you might want some advice before you get yourself into too big of a mess, which, by the way, is the only time you ever ask for help.


You had life so good for too long and you wasted every minute of it. That may sound harsh but it’s the truth and that’s always what you have been most afraid of. You’re afraid of the reality that you’re not really that smart or a hard worker. You’re not that great at soccer, and honestly you have no clue what to do or what you have going for you. And for that you are a complete moron. A thick-headed, arrogant, lost, and rather useless moron. You are perfectly fine doing whatever you want regardless of what anybody says but you are too much of chicken to take what you really want. Every windsurfer you know tells you every day to compete and go for bigger sponsors and launch crazier moves but you hesitate. Every. Single. Time.

Well by the time you figure it out you’ll be locked away in the hills of Massachusetts. Yeah they are hills, not mountains the way mom described them. But you won’t stop hesitating, you’ll get worse. The kids you are going to meet are going to ruin your creativity and spontaneity. The worst part is you will feel every bit of you chip away and it will hurt. It will feel like that rock you had lodged into your foot except everywhere in your body. But you won’t show it. You’ll smile, laugh, and try to act like everything is normal, and eventually will manage to convince yourself that you can fit in here. That is why I am writing to you.

You don’t fit in at your world and you should be damn proud of it. Things are going to get tough for you, and I’ll be honest, out here you won’t have much support. But just remember that first rainy day you hit a little wave and couldn’t stop with that ridiculous smile. Trust me when I say that is all you will ever need to be you.

Forget about all the people who are afraid to voice their opinions, or be different, or be loud and crazy, or even have a personality. And don’t let them slip that little seed of a thought into your head that being different is a bad thing. I know you have always been proud of being different but there will be moments when that thought crosses your mind so just shoot it down. Look, I don’t want to scare you about your future but in reality there is going to be a lot of times when things suck. But you secretly asked for it. You wanted some way to prove to yourself that you were… I don’t know exactly. Unique?    Strong enough to survive anything?   Not all talk?  A windsurfer?  A good person?

There really is no word for that feeling you’re searching for but hang in there you will find it. And trust me, when you do, no one, not your parents, not people with useless mass gas (the worthless, hindering advice that spews from a lot of the kids you will meet), or anybody else will be able to stop you. The feeling of knowing you are capable of using your mind and body to do everything you want to do is like launching off a perfect swell at Treasure Island during a perfect ebb.

Just keep rising up and don’t let anyone bring you down. And if dad brings up that stupid story about Icarus and burning up from being to confident, you look him in the eye and tell him, “I’m going to do what I need to, you won’t stop me, and if I crash and burn I’ll get up and give it another go”.  You are fully capable of getting to Pozo, Gran Canaria, and shredding with the best and one day we’ll get there. Hold on to that.

Here is a poem I wrote for you to hold on to those feelings.

Dear 16 year old me,

You kinda suck right now

Every spark of life is gone,

and I got no clue how

So I got a task for you now,

remember Pozo?,

Yea, where Philip is living your dream,

that useless bozo.

Well get there, stand there,

shred there, kill it there

Show the world that you still got plenty of flair.

Show em that you still care

Show em that you still give a damn


down the doors of the giant house that’s in the way.

Rep the Bay, Hella dope!

Don’t just sit there and mope.

Stand up. Be loud. Be heard!

And if life hands you a rope

Use it to catch all the racist ducks

All they do is stomp around in brown muck

And when they try to splash it your way

Stand up and say:

“I. Don’t. Give. A. DUCK!

In reality

You just live in a scared mentality.

When you see the dark or the different,

you scatter and flee into your escape tents.”

Be you,

Or be just another cow,


It’s true

It’s easy to follow and have no clue

But is it worth it?

Does that really fit for you.

Well I think that’s dumb!

It makes your mind numb

Like you’re captain Jack,

drunk on rum

And since I’m really just a better you

Stop with the complacent moo

Find a big wave

And start screaming



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