The Art of Being a Kook / by daniel hamlin

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The following is an article I wrote a number of years ago regarding some of my life's less than finer moments. Hope you enjoy...


Don’t Act Like Your Not Impressed

            I’m a kook. It’s taken me a while to admit it, but to be honest, now that I have, it’s quite liberating. I’m not talking about skill level here; I’m talking about being an honest to goodness kook. I’m done pretending, and I’m done trying to hide it, I’ve just come to accept that I will never be very cool. I’m okay with that. It’s not a surprise to anyone who knows me. I have a resume listing my credentials as a kook that is quite impressive. I will divulge a few of them for you here.  Now just for the record, all of the following instances are true; I didn’t fabricate any of them.  Some are associated with surfing, some aren’t. I do not condone or condemn the following behaviors, just in case some readers may happen to practice them.

            To start with, when I first started surfing I used to wear a tank-top and swim-trunks under my wetsuit. I also used to walk to the water with my wetsuit half way down, wearing said attire, trying to impress the ladies. When I first started reading surf magazines I used to think Occy was pronounced the same as Aussie; I thought it was a sort of double meaning since he’s Australian. I also used to think that the Beach Boys were core surf music. I’d cruise to the beach listening to “Surfin’ Surfari” thinking about ‘catching a wave and sitting on top of the world.’ A few winters ago on the North Shore I took a BZ longboard out at Chuns Reef to goof around on and proceeded to get sucked over the falls with it, completely burning Bonga Perkins in the process. Luckily I think he was more amused than upset. I went in shortly after that. Further more, I once tried to “shoot” a couple pilings at my local pier, only to wuss out at the last second which resulted in bear-hugging a piling and dinging my board. Luckily a bruised ego was the only injury I incurred. 

            These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll continue. I once took a vegetarian on a date to a steakhouse. Another time on a surf trip with some friends, we stayed at my buddies’ parents’ house. Well I don’t know if it was because I was exhausted from all the surf we were scoring, but one night I peed in my pants while sleeping. Did I mention I was 23 years old when that happened? Okay, that one is a little embarrassing.

            I could go on and on; the examples seem endless. Like the time I asked a girl on a date to the city “recycling center,” aka the trash dump; or the time I made a joke about losing my job in a room full of teachers who had actually lost their jobs. But I digress. I’ve presented here only a handful of my life’s less than finest moments, so what’s my point? Well, I guess that I’m saying we’ve all been kooks at some point in our lives, for me at many points in life. So if you’re a kook, don’t be embarrassed, you are not alone. For every glamorous poster child out there in the line-up, there are a dozen kooks like me listening to the Beach Boys, talking about how much Mark “Aussielupo” rips. I may not be the coolest guy in the parking lot, but I sure have fun surfing. And some of the most magical days of surfing I’ve ever experienced were those in the beginning, before I knew any better, when I used to walk to the water’s edge with my wetsuit half down and my tank-top on. And all those embarrassing kook moments make for some good stories and better laughs down life’s road. I guess all I’m really saying is let’s not take ourselves too seriously; we all need a little grace.     

(Originally published on