Eric’s Fatal Mistake


The world changes but certain things remain the same. One is the universal (or near universal) desire of young men to find the girl of their dreams.  Another is the desire (or near universal desire) of fathers to check out young guys who have an eye on their daughters.

When I was a student, in England, one of my friends joined a golf club. He saw it as a way to meet the right sort of people and advance his love life.  I listened with envy as he told me about his progress.  On occasions, I even wondered if I should give up rock climbing for a more socially rewarding activity.

The golf club’s president had a beautiful daughter and my friend lusted after her. Weeks passed and everything went according to plan.  He was invited to the president’s home and met the young lady.  They struck up a relationship and it was proceeding well when he forgot the basic rules of the game.  I never fully understood what happened but it had something to do with “teeing off”.  As far as I can make out he hit the ball when he shouldn’t have.  Anyway, the offence was unforgivable and he fell from grace.

I recently encountered something similar at my local surf club. A handsome young fellow arrived from Scandinavia.  I’ll call him Eric.  He was a champion surfer and got to know the club president.  In time Eric met the president’s daughter, the lovely Natalie (not her real name).

He went to stay with them. There was talk of marriage.  Then things went pear-shaped.  Eric was out in the surf one day and the perfect wave came along.  It rose up and he launched himself into its seductive curve … forgetting that he didn’t have precedence.  Another surfer was there before him.

Worst of all, the other surfer was the club president. Perched on her surfboard, Natalie saw what happened and was horrified.  Eric and stolen her dad’s wave (the technical term is “drop in”).  What sort of husband would he make?  She revised her opinion of him and gave Eric his marching orders.  He ceased to be a live-in boyfriend and is staying in a backpacker hostel again.

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