Pliny the Elder. He's someone I hold in high regard, set atop some kind of surfing-meets-science pedestal floating above a slow peeling left hand point break - pig perfect. He's a math teacher, a father, a friend. He surfs pigs, shoots long riffles, enjoys an IPA and is an integral part of this project, as well as the progression of my surfing. To tell you the entire tale would take too long, and honestly, it'd be best told above a beer. But with that being said, I think it's important to shed some light on 'The Lab.'
Nestled in a Cookie Cutter, White Picket Fence, Mom Yoga type neighborhood, The Lab takes up two-thirds of what was once a two-car garage - the other third occupied by an assortment of princess paraphernalia and a fifteen foot long, eight foot tall chalk board, upon which Mike does math. And doodles. Four pigs are perched on the wall to your left as you enter; three other boards occupy the space above a small desk on the opposite wall.
Art, items, words of wisdom and an eclectic mix of things known and unknown are scattered around the room. An octopus light sits on the desk, one eye covered by a beer cap. Paintings of pigs and people surfing pigs hang in the free spaces between boards, while a meteorite that Mike found as a kid hangs from the garage door opening device. Eclectic is an understatement.
We downed a brown bottle of Ballast Point and then plotted our search for Pliny the Elder, a much sought after IPA. Tom, Mike's old mate, came through the back door with wonderful news: the pretentious pizza place down the street (no idea the name) had Pliny on tap, for a limited time. Onward!
One dog, one daughter, four dudes... eager for an IPA, and some tiny corndogs. We ate cumquats from a tall tree in the parking lot before taking the first table within our reach. An odd bunch, undoubtedly. The little lady took photos with her toy ATM while Tom ordered a round (unfortunately our hostess felled the first four). One turned to three. Conversation ensued. By the time we paid for our Pliny, all three of us were feeling the effect. We wandered back to the The Lab.
Here's where things got good...
There was this game - I can't remember the name - it involved a metal loop attached to some string that hung from the ceiling, a hook in the tool closet across the room, and a long sheet of paper upon which Mike had written the rules. Something about a pirate, or a man who'd lost three fingers? I can't be certain. We swung the circle. "MISSFIRE!" must be called before the pendulum swings past half. Ten tries. An abacus at either end to keep track of how many times you've looped the hook, or whatever.
Tom cooked chicken. Which we ate. Stuffing our faces and licking our fingers. We sat in a circle and consumed a custom Rice Krispie, after which we all lost our minds. Or so it seemed. Then Mike took down a well read copy of Natural History written by our famous beer brother, Gaius Plinius Secundus. He read from within; ideas, inspiration, the seemingly obvious, something about suicide and then, after a few hours, and perhaps additional IPAs (?), the part which Mike felt was most important: "God is man helping men. This is the way to everything glory."
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