Photo by Bailey Eldering.
Maybe you heard about the embarrassing incident several weeks ago involving Tony Abbott, Australian Prime Minister until September of last year?
The former leader of the Liberal Party was snapped dropping in on a young longboarder at Noosa Heads on Australia's Sunshine Coast. Perhaps you saw the photo -- and it is a wonderful photo, is it not? The contrast between middle-aged haplessness on the one hand and youthful ease on the other is exquisite -- brutal, even -- and underscored by the look of bored disdain on the wronged party's face. A veritable masterpiece.
Now for the first time Abbott has spoken publicly about the controversy, and it is pure politician! "The truth is I have no peripheral vision, particularly when I'm surfing," he told radio station Roccy FM. "If it's a righthand break, I just can't see out of my left eye. It's just impossible. I don't know whether it's the salt water or if it's some genetic defect but I just can't see."
"The truth is I have no peripheral vision, particularly when I'm surfing"
This too is a masterpiece, a triumph in the genre of weak and unconvincing drop-in excuses. But there's more: "I was just catching the wave minding my own business and eventually there was this extremely attractive and very, very talented surfer on my left."
The "extremely attractive" surfer in question is 17-year old Ivy Thomas, and verily she shreds.
It's one of those things that could only happen in Australia -- Bob Hawke, Australian Prime Minister between 1983 and '91, entered the Guinness Book of Records as a student in 1954 for drinking a yard of ale in 11 seconds. Although, having said that, Dave Cameron is of course a keen bodyboarder, and Barack Obama has been known to frolic in the waters of his native Hawaii.