My son had a passion for boards. Between the accumulated surfboards and skateboards our garage was more a beach kids dream shack then a place to park the car.
The closest I have ever been to a surfboard is when I would stand and watch my son lovingly wax his and wonder if he would someday love a woman as much as he loved those boards. So it is a bit odd that one of my favorite columns in the paper is written by a man that talks of surfboards and surfing. It’s not that he’s such a gripping writer, it’s more like I am a vicarious reader. I would love to have been able to be a surf broad. I love the ocean and I love to watch the surfers as they attempt to tame a wave. What a feeling that must be!
This morning's “Surfs Up” recounted the history of a particular wax.
“Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax” - Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax is a brand of surf wax manufactured for use on surfboards. This wax is rubbed on the top surface or “deck” of a surfboard to allow traction and grip for the surfer. It was developed by Fredrick Herzog (Mr Zog) and chemist Nate Skinner in 1972. Hank Pitcher designed the logo as a tongue-in-cheek slam at Madison Ave and their 'sex sells everything' mentality.
1972 and a Tee Shirt - My son walked into the house with a new tee shirt he had just purchased. When he pulled it out of the sack to show me the cool logo my first reaction was “explain, please“. I realized I was probably considered to be a liberal parent, but I had never seen this particular logo before. “OK kid, what does it mean?”
“Sex Wax is a new surfboard wax. See, I bought some,” and he was off to the garage to apply some of his new purchase on his boards.
I got the joke. “What a great way to get the attention of a group of hopeful, young men,” I smiled as I went back to what I had been doing.
It took about three days for the rest of the boys that ran in and out of my house to talk their parents into buying them the same tee shirt, but eventually every boy in my world owned one or two. It became the hot wear of the moment. I never gave it another thought. Until ....
The school called me at work to tell me that I needed to come and pickup my son. He was being expelled from school for wearing “suggestive” clothing. ‘Suggestive’? He had on his usual school attire, a tee shirt, shorts, and Van’s tennis shoes (one orange and one blue). What was suggestive?
“He has the word “SEX” on the front of his shirt. It has been decided that the shirts are offensive and suggestive. Your son will not be allowed back in school until you personally bring him in and sign a statement that you are aware that this shirt and logo will not be tolerated on our campus.”
When I got home I found my house filled with boys laughing their heads off. Most of my son’s friends had been expelled. Now, I don’t know how other parents in other neighborhoods reacted, but the majority of the parents in our neighborhood thought it was much ado about nothing. But, if the school was going to stand by their decision to ban, there wasn’t much we could do except sign the ’I’ll never let him wear the shirt to school again’ statement.
In the meantime, there was a whole day ahead of a group of boys that loved the fact that the sun was shining and they didn’t have to sit in a classroom.
And what did they do with that day? They donned their Sex Wax tee shirts, grabbed their tins of Sex Wax, their surfboards, and got on their bikes and headed for the beach. No one on the beach thought they were offensive. Most of the people at the beach had on the same tee shirt and/or the wax!
It took about three months for the school to see that they may have made a rash decision. The ban on the logo was lifted, and the tee shirt was once again allowed on campus. By that very act much of the titillation of wearing the shirt was blunted and Sex Wax, although extremely popular for surfboard use, became just ... wax (with a cool logo).
My son and I had fun this morning remembering that day. “I was expelled from school and my mother let me go surfing!”
I wonder what the school would have done if some of the later waxes had come first ... “Quick Humps”, “Really Tacky”, and “Naval Wax” are just a few that I can remember.
Of course it didn’t help, during those three months of the tee shirts banning, that one of the slogans and non-surfing innuendos of use going around was:
Sex Wax, The best for your stick!