The Last Surfer in California

By the time I got to California the blondes had gone home
The Beach Boys were sporting dreadlocks
and singing reggae songs
The life guard at the tower
didn’t have a tan
Said if you’re looking for Mama Cass
she’s asleep over there in the van

The last surfer in California
was staring at the waves
His longboard in tatters
had seen better days
He gazed far into the sunset
in an attempt to bring it back,
Said follow me young dreamer
there’s something that you lack

A gentle rain began falling
muddying up the sand
Somewhere in the distance,
Mama Cass was snoring in her van

We walked for about an hour
through sand, dune, and brack
Shortly we were standing
in front of a dilapidated surf shack

The tin roof was held together
by ten penny nails
Water was dripping off the roof
into an old blue bailing pail

These old timber floor boards have survived earthquakes
hard rain and hail
He spoke the words with pride
as he leaned upon the porch rail

Surrounding the shack was growing
a small stand of pines
He said palms in California
are a Beverly Hills state of mind
The California coastline
isn’t like what’s in the books
If you don’t believe me
go out back and have another look

The place you think you’re going
is in only in your mind
If you listen to me carefully
I can save you lot’s of time
Many dreamers come here
searching in the sand
For most it’s disappointment,
cheap hotels, and aging rock bands

I’ve seen them come for glory
on the big silver screen
A young starlet’s illusion
a facade made of green
Strumpets line the boulevard
of Hollywood and Vine
They can tell you all about it
if you’ve got the time

Faded stars and glory
have never paid the bills
There’s a retirement home for actors
who are over the hill
But it shut down due to lack of funding
back in ’09
Millionaire producers
just don’t have the time

Many swarm across the border
looking for a better life
But it’s the same old story
and one more day of strife
Minimum wage labor,
sweat, cement, and stone
For the king and queen of LA
to sit upon their throne

The last surfer in California
said let’s fire up the pot
We’re having boiled cabbage and potatoes
that’s all I’ve got
Did you think there was a lobster in my Pot?

About an hour later
Mama Cass showed up with cold beer
Her waist length gray hair a flowing
she pulled up a chair
The Last surfer in California
lit a cigarette
He claimed that nicotine and hops
hadn’t killed a surfer yet

That night I slept on the front porch
under a sky drenched in stars
Somewhere in the distance
Mama Cass was hitting the bars

The Last Surfer in California
was gone when I awoke
Hanging from a fish hook
was a handwritten note

You can search the world over
for that perfect wave
Or you can live your life like no tomorrow
each and every day
You can wander here and wander there
through dunes, surf and brack
But time is much like plunder,  you never get it back

California may have what you’re looking for
then again it may not
But one thing I know for certain
It doesn’t guarantee lobster in your pot

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It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

— Adam Smith