In My Ohio

On Fighting the Ocean

Darren C. Demaree
My sister is getting married this weekend. We are all very excited about the occasion for obvious reasons, but since the event is taking place in Hilton Head I will again get to visit my old nemesis, the ocean.

Let me start over.

We all do stupid things. In fact, some of the stupid things we do give us a nostalgic pleasure, because even though we knew they were stupid the first time we did them, we continue to do so. A tether has been created between the act, and it and us doesn’t have to make sense or necessarily fit with any other part of your personality. My stupid thing, the thing I’ve done triumphantly, with ecstatic joy every time I find myself on the beach, is that I fight the ocean.

I have hundreds if not thousands of witnesses to this. There are college friends that drunkenly joined me, ex-girlfriends that refused to join in, and my large family that supports me whole-heartedly in this secret revenge plot that now carries with it many myths and fake origin stories.

It began because it was “super cool” to karate chop the waves just before they broke. It was hilarious when the ocean hit me back, and knocked me on my ass. Which, of course, led to taunting the ocean, kicking the ocean, and using every combination I learned from Street Fighter 2 on the ocean.

I consider these episodes triumphs because I have always walked away from each battle. I take on the ocean, and after an hour or two, the ocean and I end things the way we always do, with hate and respect. We know that we will meet again. We secretly know, but would only confess under torture that we complete each other. If one of us ever perished in battle against each other, no other foe would be able to fill the void left behind.

Of course this falls under any excuse to let loose my imagination and be playful in the world, but it’s more than that as well. It’s therapeutic to me to let the ocean throw me around a bit. I spend so much of my time in a very regimented schedule that it is greatly needed to be knocked off my toes for an hour or two. Plus, being un-hinged for a while in a completely acceptable manner is pretty great.

I don’t know what stupid things you do. I’m sure they’re embarrassing, hysterical, and that you wouldn’t be you without them. So, yes, I am a father of two, an author, a poet, an editor, and a teacher. I’m all of those things and I fight the ocean whenever I can.

I will be so incredibly happy for my sister this weekend. She is marrying someone that she is truly in love with. That’s great. That can be the impetus for a lifetime of happiness. I will take in and experience the whole scene, but you better believe I won’t be turning my back on that damn ocean for any photographs. Wedding scenes are always when the nemesis shows up to attack. I will be in a tuxedo, but I will be ready for anything.