• [Extremes]

    S&M Files, Episode 6: December 23, 1999
    Extreme Sports

    What a cute notion to fly a kite next to the crashing surf.
    But these were not ordinary kites. The kites themselves were
    little parachutes, and their masters were decked out in extreme
    kite wear. The huge contraptions seemed to take great joy in
    launching their captors high into the air and then dragging them
    across the beach. As I recall, sandpaper is made from sand.

    Fortunately, Brighton does not have sand.

    Brighton has pebbles.

    Imagine sandpaper made out of pebbles. Imagine this very
    quickly passing over your face. Hence, the extreme wear.

    Apparently, I was witnessing para-boarding, or sailing, or
    some such thing. Put yourself on a surfboard (tricky), fly an
    overgrown kite (trickier), and let it pull you across huge waves
    without falling off (trickiest). Here we have a sport that
    combines the best traits of frustration and humiliation with
    random Pavlovian reinforcement of pain. I was surprised I wasn’t
    instantly hooked.

    This is a buddy sport. You steady your kite. Your buddy jumps
    on you. You bound down the beach out of control with your buddy
    affixed to your ankle. He’s not just holding you down but trying
    to affix a surfboard to your flying feet. Just when you think you
    have it, a huge wave crashes over you, buddy and surfboard. Do
    not let go. Repeat, do not let go of the kite, despite pebbles
    cramming deeper into your nasal cavity.

    Eventually, our hero did get into the water. He sailed at the
    speed of sound, hit a sea turd, and did a salty face plant.
    Instantly he was yanked full out the water to do the face plant








    Do not let go. Remember the mantra.

    When he was far, far out, I begin to wonder about the kite
    dunking itself. Maybe a 1/2 mile swim through raging surf
    attached to leaden kite is good exercise.

    Extreme Hazards

    Our intrepid surfer would have a much easier time if it were
    not for wild Brighton sea turds. Apparently the pipe from my
    little commode (and every one else’s) leads directly to the sea.
    Yes, folks, raw sewage, toilet paper and all, from a major
    population center dumped directly into the sea. But it’s ok, the
    pipe goes out beyond the swimming area so your chance of coming
    face to face with this morning’s deposit are slim. Thanks to the
    tourism board, they process it in the summer into a more
    consistent paste to reduce chunkiness. Did I mention the
    popularity of curry?

    Extremely Commercial Weather

    “And now the Barbados Tourism Authority weather: London -
    Rain. South East – Windy and rain. Forecast – Dull, wet and

    It seems English weather is sponsored by Barbados Tourism.
    It’s sort of the opposite of trying to sell fridges to the

    I wonder if they take plastic? I’d like to order some wicked
    sunshine for Brighton.

    Extreme Behaviour

    This morning greeted us with an exceptionally windy seaside
    day. My morning tour to the sea was interrupted as I watched a
    familiar face chase his hat down the block. I flapped my arms
    lightly against the gale in sympathy. He retrieved his hat, waved
    his hands in the air, let out a whooping yell, and marched up to
    plant himself but inches from my face. I could see quite clearly
    his two front teeth were mostly gold, which worked nicely with
    whole rasta-man gig he had going.

    My small demonstration of solidarity was all he needed. He
    clapped his large black hand on my back and grinned even wider.
    We were brothers against the storm.

    “Oh what a crazy world it is, mon, ” he exclaimed loudly into
    my face. It was genuine Jamaican-rasta with a British accent.
    “Why can’t we all a just be happy, my friend? Why just a last
    night night I was a singing and a laughing and a yelling MERRY
    CHRISTMAS! And you know what?”

    I stared into his face. I didn’t know what.

    “Well, I tell you what,” he continued with another thunderous
    pat on my back. “They came and tried to take me away. Oh, yes,
    they did. They wanted to puts a me in an institution just for
    being happy now. An institution!” Except he said

    I patted him on the backm and he was satisfied that I
    understood. I’m now an unofficial rasta-storm-brother. I get my
    secret handshake next week.

    Extreme Conspiracy

    I was greeted by an unusual sight when I finally continued
    down to the ocean. A large section of the beach was sectioned off
    with high fences and patrolled by plainclothed guards in bright
    yellow pants. (On the beach plain clothes include bright yellow
    pants.) Far beyond the fences on the beach were more men from the
    yellow pants unit scurrying around several large, carefully
    tarped objects. I had obviously stumbled across the covert yellow
    alien space craft retrieval unit.

    I approached the guard. I knew it! He was a dead ringer for
    Mulder. Now where was that sexy Sculley?

    He ran an unconvincing story about fireworks tonight.
    Celebrate the shortest day of the year he said. (He really did
    look like Mulder.) Even the English aren’t silly enough to
    celebrate the lack of sun, are they?

    That night we dashed out of the house into gale force winds in
    response to several terrific bangs. The crowds were gathered
    thick and sure enough… there were no fireworks. Instead, one of
    the large towers, now untarped, was on fire.

    Instead of launching fireworks into the sky, it simply fell
    over slowly and burst into multicolored flames. <Fzzzz>
    <Crackle> <Crackle>

    The yellow pants unit scurried like…well, not like
    ants…like British. They casually walked around the burning
    carcass, as if nothing was wrong, and lit up the ground displays.
    These were supposed to spin and sparkle like Chinese wheels. They
    flapped madly in the gale, letting off streams of glowing

    The second tower did a bit better. Instead of falling over and
    catching fire it stood firm and caught fire. <fzzz>
    <Crackle> <Crackle>

    The yellow unit let the crowds watch the burning towers a
    while longer, thanked everyone, thanked the corporate sponsors,
    and bid us goodnight. As we walked home, I secretly admired the
    cunning of the yellow unit as the alien crafts burned in full
    public view.


    Write a comment