Shel Silverstein

The Perfect Wave

Dave McGunn was a surfin’ bum, half–crazed by the blazin’ sun. From Waikiki to the Bering Sea, he rode ’em one by one. Now he hung offshore ’bout a mile or more, out where the dolphins played, And his wild eyes gleamed as he schemed and dreamed To ride the perfect wave. Oh, ride the perfect wave, Dave, ride the perfect wave. If you wait it out and you don’t sell out, you may ride The perfect wave. He crouched in the spray and he waited all day till the sun gave way to the moon, And his legs grew cold and he grew old and wrinkled like a prune. And the years rolled by and the surf broke high and the 40–foot breakers sprayed. But he sneered at ’em all, sayin’, 'Too damn small; I’m waitin’ For the perfect wave.' He was sleepin’ on his board when he woke to a roar as thunder shook the sea. ’Twas the dreaded California quake of 1973. And he stared at the reef in disbelief, then paddled with tremblin’ hands As a monstrous crashin’ tidal wave came roarin’ ’cross the land. It was 12 miles high and it filled the sky, the color of boilin’ blood. And cities fell beneath its swell and mountains turned to mud. Its deadly surf engulfed the earth and left not a thing alive. And high on the tip with a smile on his lip was Davey hangin’ five. He hit the top of the Golden Gate at a thousand miles an hour, Over the top of the Empire State and the tip of the Eiffel Tower. And as he wiped out, you could hear him shout as he plunged to a watery grave, 'Hey hi dee hi, I’m glad to die –– I’ve rode The perfect wave.'

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