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“I must have put a decimal point in the wrong place or something. Shit! I always do that. I always mess up some mundane detail.”

David Herman as Michael Bolton in Office Space, 1999

“I found a nice, medium-sized wave, possibly the first of a set. I caught it, shaky with relief, then I managed to fall off. I popped up, annoyed, and found myself looking at a wall of water that seemed to have marched out of my worst nightmares. It was already pulling water from the shelf, pulling me toward it, and there was no chance at all that I would escape it. It was the biggest wave I had ever seen at Pequena, and it was already starting to break. I swam toward it hard and dove early, but it plucked me out of the depths and beat me until I screamed in hopeless protest. When I finally surfaced there was another one behind it, just as big, just as malignant. There seemed to be a bit more water on the shelf. I swam to the bottom and tried to get a grip on a rough slab of rock but was instantly ripped away. Another long, thorough beating. I tried to cover my head with my arms in case it dashed me against the bottom. It didn't. I eventually resurfaced. There was another one. It was bigger than the others, but the important thing about it was that it sucked all the water off the shelf. Boulders started surfacing in front of me, and then I was standing in a field of rocks in rushing, waist-deep water. I did not understand where I was. A field of rocks had risen out of the ocean, quite far from shore, at a break I thought I knew. In a lifetime of surfing, I had never seen anything like this. The wave mutated into a hideous, boiling, two-story wall of white water, almost without breaking. It had run out of water to draw from. I had a moment in which to decide what to do before it hit me. I picked a fissure in the wall and threw myself up and into it. The vague hope was that if I wriggled in deep enough the white water might swallow me rather than simply smash me to pieces on the rocks. Something like that occurred apparently. My feet were sliced up from the leap but I did not hit the bottom as I rag-dolled shoreward in the bowels of the wave, and when I next surfaced I was in deep water, in the channel East of Pequena, safe.”

William Finnegan
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat . . . There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who ‘but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier’.”

U.S President Theodore Roosevelt
Citizenship in a Republic
speech delivered on April 23, 1910, at the Sorbonne in Paris