Perhaps the taleof the world's first Peace Pentathlon should be told in comic-book form.Certainly the plot is graphic enough—full of bright colors, bold caricaturesand quotes like SPLAT! and WOW! and VROOM! The characters themselves might havestepped out of Barbarella by way of Prince Valiant, with stops at Tarzan,Batman and Submariner. Then again, they might have stepped out of the YellowSubmarine.
Take the hero.Super Hippie, known to his friends as David Smith (see cover), a mild-manneredformer child prodigy in golf, swimming and skeet (Northern California, Class Dall-bore champion at 15) who has latterly devoted his life to a crusade againstcompetition. Not that he doesn't compete. He does, with himself. But he rejectseverything that smacks of organized athletics, from starter's pistols("violent") to finish lines ("uptight"). Not to mention crewcuts. Super Hippie's hairdo makes Joe Namath look like Mr. Clean, and he hasspaced-out eyes that scrutinize everything with X-ray vision. Well, at least hecan see through a put-on.
Super Hippie'severyday costume—he calls it his No. 1 Adventurer's Outfit—is a sight tobehold. Pythonskin boots with scales like new dimes. Bell-bottoms in a shade hecalls "spiritual purple." A wool shirt with ballooning, black-velvetsleeves and five-inch cuffs cut from the gaudiest tablecloth in Tangier. All ofit topped off by a leather vest with enough straps and buckles to give theMarquis de Sade a tingle. His No. 2 Adventurer's Outfit—the one he wears inaction—is simpler: Adidas sneakers, a buckskin loincloth, a tie-dyed sleevelessundershirt in blue and orange with a white peace symbol on the chest. To changefrom No. 1 to No. 2. all he does is hum a few bars from the Beatles" HereComes the Sun.
Then there's thePeace Pentathlon itself, a sequence of events that might have been lifted fromthe panels of Terry and the Pirates and reworked through the head of anunderground newspaper cartoonist. The pentathlon was to take place in the U.S.Virgin Islands, which by themselves are a kind of funny-paper fantasy land. Allin one day, and all by his noncompetitive lonesome. Super Hippie planned toparachute into the sea, swim a treacherous five-mile channel between St. Johnand St. Thomas, scuba dive through a chain of underwater caves, run for an hourand a half through jungle and countryside and wind up with a hairy trail-bikescramble up a steep and tortuous mountain road. Five physically demandingevents, a test of versatility and endurance, run back to back with a minimum ofrest in between. But why?
May 10, 1970
Super Hippieexplained it all to a group of young black street fighters that he met on hisfirst night in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. The kids wanted to reduce SuperHippie to honky hamburger (after all, he did look a bit weird), but he pacifiedthem with his Brotherhood Rap, then bought them a drink at a waterfrontbar.
"I'm DavidSmith and I'm down here to do this Peace Pentathlon," he said with a smiledevoid of aggression.
"You dig theOlympic Games, right?"
"Yeah,man," said Charlie, the leader of the gang. "John Carlos and the blackglove, I dig that."
"Well,"said Super Hippie, hunched over a tall orange juice, "they have a thing inthe Games called the pentathlon—that's Greek for a five-event athletic contest.Running, shooting, fencing, swimming and riding a strange horse over enemyturf. It's supposed to test the skills of a battlefield courier—like amessenger who's got the word from one general to another."
"That'scool," said Charlie. "But they ought to bring it up to date. Cut outthe sword fighting and have one with switchblades, or maybe jumping from roofto roof...." Smith flicked him a benign smile but his eyes looked dubious.A pentathlon for ghetto rioters?
"Look, whatI'm down here in the Virgins to do is a Peace Pentathlon," he said."Peace, man. Five groovy events that people do for fun, not for war. Eventsthat aren't designed to beat other people, but to test what the athlete himselfis capable of doing. If we can only get past the idea that we have to be betterthan the next cat, and concentrate on being better today than we were withinourselves yesterday, then the world will be a better place."
Charlie sat back,took a hit from his pi√±a colada and rolled his eyes out of sight."Man," he said, "you is some kinda freak."
Maybe so.Charlie's opinion was certainly shared by many of the islanders who witnessedthe Peace Pentathlon when Smith paraswamdoveranbiked it last Jan. 25. Still,there was a point to the Peace Pentathlon, a message, in fact a whole series ofmessages, relating to travel and sports. Some of them belied the frivolity ofthe exercise. For instance, a straight line may well be the shortest, swiftestroute between two points, but is it the nicest? Aren't the dynamics of movementat least as important as the goals? Is elapsed time the only criterion ofsuccess in a race, or is there some greater success involved in the very act ofracing? Is the "will to win" only applicable in man-against-mancontests, or does it pertain as well when the only competition is oneself? Forall his flamboyance—yes, his freakiness—David Smith was uniquely prepared toprobe those questions. In a way, the Peace Pentathlon was a logical outgrowthof Super Hippie's earlier adventures.
So, DavidSmith—common enough. Any middle name? "Winnie the Pooh," Smith laughs."Actually, A. A. Milne was a relative—cousin or something—on my mother'sside. She dropped the 'e' in my middle name: Miln." Born? "Yes, indeed.In San Francisco, Oct. 17, 1938. A Libra with the moon in Leo and Scorpiorising." Smith's father, Dr. Seymour P. Smith, is a Bay Area obstetricianof no small repute. Growing up absurd in the midst of California's good life,young Super Hippie discovered that he was a natural athlete. At the age of 12he became an eagle scout. Under his father's tutelage, he soon became astick-out in golf (high 70s), swimming and shooting.
"My dad's awonderful wing shot and an avid hunter," he says. "I grew up with guns,and my best friend for many years was a German shorthaired pointer namedBarker. When I was 13 I was shooting skeet against men. I shot game, too—evenbig game. When I was 16, I stalked and killed an antelope in Wyoming. I guttedthe pronghorn myself and packed it out about six miles on my back. The bloodsoaked through my shirt and, I swear, literally into my back. It took days forit all to work clean."
That may helpaccount for Smith's present aversion to guns and hunting. Now he shoots onlywith a camera, and finds it more challenging. "You need real stealth to getthe close shots that a camera demands," he says. "It would be cool,say, to get right up on a cougar,' swat it lightly on the butt and say,"Gotcha, cougar.' I wonder what he'd say. 'Grrrowwwrrr?' "
Smith rejectedgolf for murkier reasons. "Golf is too much the Establishment game," hesays with a shrug. "That's not much of a reason—there's as much conformityin the anti-Establishment's attitudes as in what they criticize—but I guess Ijust don't turn on to golf anymore. In a way it's a cool game—completelypointless, a guy just grooving on the trajectory of a little white ball cloppedby a stick. Maybe it's the people who do the clopping who I don't turn on toanymore."
Smith alsoobjects to the intense competitiveness of modern golf—and of most conventionalsports. "To compete is to try to put someone else down," he says."In a Christian sense, if we're good enough to beat someone, we should alsobe good enough not to want to put him down. Even in pro games, where theexecution is often so superb that it overrides the put-down aspect, you get asense that it's all programmed, all artificially narrow and not quite human.Whole cities get caught up in the put-down philosophy—the Jets have got tohumiliate the Giants or else half the town will be unhappy. Or look atBaltimore—everywhere you look there's a loser—Colts, Orioles, Bullets, Spiro T.Agnew."
Coherence is notone of Smith's strong suits, though many of his thoughts have a simple strengththat approaches cogency. He jots down ideas as they occur to him in a notebookon whose cover he has glued a colorful bodhisattva and the word Love. He writeswith a felt-tipped pen—on the theory that the broader the pen point, the deeperthe insight. One of his objections to highly competitive sports is the anger itnecessarily generates in the competitors—the self-stimulated rage that demands"kill, kill, kill." As he wrote recently: "Anger is a bummer,especially when it grows—it limits, makes me unclear, very single-minded."Yet he recognizes the need for motivation and action: "Verbalizing aboutthe future without action leads to conflicts after what you've been talkingabout doesn't become true. ... I want to be up, vitality high, energy high.Ready to break through walls without anger or hostility."
Drifting throughnine California colleges without any abiding interest in academics, Smithgradually began evolving his adventurer's mentality. In 1964, on a bet, he swamthe Golden Gate—a perilous mile that he covered in 27 minutes. More importantthan the elapsed time was the effect of the swim on Smith's psyche. "Itpulled me together," he says now. "Before that I was just drifting,like most California kids."
Somewhere in hisreading, David had turned on to Lord Byron—not the man's poetry but hisromanticism. Byron, too, had been a swimmer, yet as André Maurois wrote in hisbiography: "What was he to do with life? It could not be spent inswimming...." Why not, Smith asked himself. Swimming was a trip, and Smithplanned to use it as a means to the end of self-realization, an Aquarianjourney "to strange places and blank faces, which I knew I could makesmile."
Early in 1966 hesigned onto a freighter and worked his passage to Europe, then bummed his wayto Spain and Morocco. No one had ever swum the Strait of Gibraltar from Africato Europe, since the prevailing currents work in the opposite direction. Smithset out to whip it the wrong way around. The men who know the Strait and itseddies best were the Spanish smugglers, so he hired one of the most experiencedas his pilot. "They were good heads," he recalls, "but they had abad habit of trolling live bait while escorting me. The closest I ever came tobeing taken by a shark was on a practice swim between Rabat and Skhirat. Ialways try to stay within 20 yards of the boat, and during this swim I lookedup and saw one of the smugglers pointing to my right. I tried to rise up out ofthe water and spot the fin, but I couldn't see it. I made for the boat and theyhauled me out the moment I reached the stern sheets. The shark went past abouttwo feet behind me. It was a hammerhead, they said."
Practice madeperfect, and on July 1, 1967 Smith became the first swimmer ever to conquer theStrait from Africa to Europe. The 19-mile swim took him 8 hours, 45 minutes.Other swims followed: Capri to Naples (a 12½-hour gut buster that he considersthe toughest of his life—particularly since he was misguided by his girlfriend, who was also his pilot, and swam the wrong way), in the Suez Canal (a30-miler, which he didn't finish due to cramps), Lake Ohrid in the Macedonianreaches of Yugoslavia and, of course, the Hellespont.
"I'm anunabashed romantic," Smith admits. "The legend of Leander swimming fromEurope to Asia in order to get together with a chick—that really was the numberfor me. The fact that Byron did it, too, only made it better. Actually, itwasn't much of a swim—about a mile through moderately fast currents. Byron was22 when he swam it in 1810, and it took him two tries. When he finally made ithe spent an hour and a half in the water. I did it in 43 minutes—but it took melike 7½ hours to return to Istanbul on the bus."
Then it was backto Morocco, where a little much-needed bread was waiting. Smith landed atelevision modeling job as the guy who walked a mile for a Camel through theCasbah in Marrakesh. "During the number, I flashed on a whole newadventure," he recalls. "I was walking through the Casbah for my Camel,dressed in a light suit, a dark shirt open at the neck, loafers and shades—allof it borrowed but the shades. The idea hit me to get rid of this absurdcostume, dress sensibly, like a Moroccan, and walk through the Atlas Mountains.Maybe a bit of Buddha would rub off on me."
It took a whileto get it all together, but in November 1968 Smith took his 300-mile walk.Dressed in a djibbah of rancid wool, carrying only a subsistence diet of dates,apricots and tinned beef, he spent 20 days in the Atlas—that spare seremountain range which still retains the medieval quality it had when the Frenchtook over in 1844. "The Atlas was out of sight," Smith says."Primitive, harsh, bright—you felt like you were thinning out and becomingpart of the sky as you walked those ridges. Any minute I expected to seeAbd-el-Krim gallop up with a dagger in his belt. One night I was hassled by acouple of Berbers, but we sat down and had our confrontation, and I learnedthat even without a common language you have communication."
After the HighAtlas, New York City was a bit of a bringdown. But Smith needed funds for hisnext adventure—even though he didn't quite know what it would be just yet. Sohe returned to the mills of Madison Avenue, grinding out commercials for Avisand Prell. His next adventure proved to be Haiti. Last summer he ran over theMassif de la Selle, a 9,000-foot mountain range back of Port-au-Prince. It was22 miles of up and down through the greenery: tropical sun, towering clouds,staring black faces, red dust puffing up underfoot, no politics, just movingthrough the scene at a steady lope, letting the images impinge on his eyeballsand feeling his muscles at work. "Creative realization," he calls it inhis hip-cum-Mad. Ave. jargon. "I think of something to do and do it. Hey,is it high? It is! Energy up! The rhythm of movements. A relaxation of flow ofthe inner essence—continuity of being, moving through any movement, harmony. Irun up the mountain. I flow down the mountain. In time with the moment. In pacewith the universe. Watching from inside and out. Unity with all."
Wising up to thecommercial possibilities of his adventures, Smith brought along a cameraman onthe Haitian outing—a hip cinematographer with a hand-held camera who shot therun in the arty manner popular with underground moviegoers, all tripleexposures and cockeyed angles and slow motion. Smith will use the film on alecture tour he has signed to do for the National Talent Service, an outfitthat has sent such disparate types as Timothy Leary and Senator Edmund Muskieto college campuses. "I'm trying to get myself together." Smith notedin his Love book. "Expanding into different areas. Trying to turn people onto an Up way of life. A way of their life thru mine as an example."
The idea of thePeace Pentathlon was conceived in midwinter Manhattan—the farthest from an Upscene you could hope for: black snow, winds chewing through the canyons likebone saws, the frozen vomit of winos in the gutters. For all his Energy Upphilosophy, Smith himself was down—with a dose of flu that had him wheezinglike a lungshot antelope. "Wait'll we get to St. Thomas," he said. 'Thesun will zap these microbes in nothing flat." Smith had been to St. Thomasjust before the Haitian run, had friends among the heads down there, and theislands offered a good logistical setting for the pentathlon. For parachuting,there was an excellent jump-master named Ed O'Brien, and Smith needed a goodteacher since he had never parachuted before in his life. For the underwaterleg, there was a fine diver named Palmer Williams, who had checked Smith outlast summer and who could show him the best coral scenery. For the distanceswim, there was Pillsbury Sound, a 3½-mile millrace between St. John and St.Thomas that would yield, with its set and drift, a full five miles of arduousswimming. For running and motorcycling, there were the island's rugged,potholed roads.
On the morningafter his confrontation with Charlie and the rumblers—a bonus to Smith's way ofthinking, since it had tested his abilities as a peacemaker-Super Hippie begangetting into shape. His breakfast: a bowl of granola, two giant glasses oforange juice and 10 pills. Three vitamin C pills ("Condensed sunshine—itkills colds and builds energy"); two each of multivitamins and iron("For strength and big. strong red corpuscles"); one each of B-12("A real upper, though the Russians use it as a tranquilizer for somestrange reason"), B-complex ("More energy") and vitamin E("Helps your heart and your sex life"). Then off to Morningstar Beachto rendezvous with O'Brien and make arrangements for the parachute jump.
In contrast tomost of the people at Morningstar—longhaired heads, limp-wristed Village fags,or knockout chicks in bikinis—O'Brien proved to be a steady, no-nonsense kindof guy: short, husky, dour, a plumber when not jumping. He was preparing agroup of Germans off a cruise ship for a sky dive that afternoon. While waitingto see him in action, Smith donned his goggles, lashed a plastic life ring tohis ankles and swam a few miles up and down the beach. Then he ran severalmiles through the heavy sand, accompanied by two resident dogs, a flashy IrishSetter and a Saluki. Smith seemed to take strength from the playful attitude ofthe dogs, particularly the Saluki, with its 20-foot leaps and its aura ofmatchless speed. Smith's workouts denied their name: they were fun. One beganto understand his definition of vocation: "Thru my work, which is not toilwork in the negative sense but a positive strengthening work, I have been ableto rid myself of the gunk that society and my environment have filled me with.The work is a combination of therapy, self-awareness, strengthening of body andmind...."
Then the skydivers began falling from the clouds. Their aim was to hit the 50-yard stretchof beach, using gravity, cupped arms and—finally—steering by means of thetoggles on their parachute shroud lines. The first jumper missed the beach by10 yards, snagging in the cactus and thorn brush inland. The second droppedonto the road above the beach. The third made it onto the sand, but the fourthfell into the water 100 yards offshore. A water drop is dangerous: the jumpermust keep clear of his shrouds, is weighted down with boots, jump suit and hardhat and is buoyed only by a Mae West, which may or may not inflate. Smith swamout to help the man in the water but received no thanks. Then he came back andbuilt sand castles with a couple of black kids until sunset.
The next few dayswere spent in scouting routes for the pentathlon and in training. Smith spent alot of time underwater. For a swimmer, he was amazingly unaware of theunderwater scene, having started skin diving only a few months earlier."Silent world, my foot," he said, emerging from his first dive of theweek. "It's like an electronic rock concert down there. All squeaks andwhistles and buzzes and chirps." He was particularly taken with a colony ofgarden eels that lived on the four-fathom curve off Coki Beach. With theirtails buried in the sand, they swayed like plants in the bottom currents. Whenyou dived toward them, they pulled themselves back into their holes; when youreturned to the surface, they emerged. "You could orchestrate them,"Smith enthused, "like, catch them on movie film while a guy dived towardthem and then rose away from them. Then synchronize music over the film.Wow!"
The diver, PalmerWilliams, 40, proved to be a curious cat—quiet, dry, pale and wispy, with thedemeanor of a bank clerk, yet he had done salvage work at 300 feet on theLusitania. He was wryly amused that Smith was going to swim the channel betweenSt. John and St. Thomas. "Nobody's done it," he said. "Couple ofkids tried it a few years ago and disappeared. Maybe the currents, maybesharks." Williams' brother-in-law and partner in their Aqua-Action divingfirm is a Wall Street dropout named John Andrews, 36, who quit his job withSmith. Barney & Co. when a physical examination turned up an incipientulcer. "I'd been diving for fun for about 15 years," he said. "Youcan't make any fortunes underwater, like you can on the Street, but underwaterwho needs fortunes?"
With Williams andAndrews as his guides, Smith explored the reefs off Cabrita Point, anundeveloped spur of headland that thrusts into Pillsbury Sound northeast ofBluebeard's Beach. It would be an ideal touchdown point at the end of thedistance swim, and scenic ground for the underwater leg of the pentathlon.About 200 yards offshore, in some 40 feet of water, the coral folded over uponitself in a series of canyons, bluffs and caves. Prowling among the elkhornsand brain corals, Super Hippie glided through flights of angelfish and dived towithin spearing range of a 15-pound permit—silver, black-edged, its blubberymouth moving as if in curses, its big eyes ablaze with outrage.
Later in the day,checking out a landing site for the transition from the scuba to the runningleg of the pentathlon, Super Hippie stepped on a sea urchin. "Shoot,"he grumbled while a friend tried to remove the spines from his heel, "whyare there so many of those things?" Palmer Williams said, "They'recompeting for living space here in the shallow coral." "Competing?"said Super Hippie. "That's not cool."
All that remainedto be checked out was the land route—a stretch of rough ground for running andsteep ground for the trail-bike scramble. Smith had never raced a motorcyclebefore and he found it a challenge. "What do you do with your knees?"he yelled as he sputtered off on his first quick climb. They were sticking outat nearly right angles, decidedly unphotogenic. On another run, he was nearlydecapitated by a telephone line a repair crew was stringing across the potholedhighway. "Rather like guerrilla warfare," Smith said. Soon, though, hewas bubbling along like Bronson, dead cool and looking for adventure.
For the runningleg Smith chose a stretch of highland trail overgrown with thorn bush andelephant grass. From the rutted track he could see out over Pillsbury Sound toSt. John. "Look at that!" he exclaimed. "The winds and the currentsall laid out for you, and how can you figure them out? I've been onmountaintops in Greece and seen the same view. That's the sort of scene thatmust have gotten the Greek philosophers started. All that random motion, itturns you on to doping it out."
So now all thescouting was done. It was P-day. Smith was up with the dawn, stomping withimpatience in his Spartacus sandals ("A cat made them for me on the beachat Agadir, to my design") and singing snatches of his magic song:
Little darling, Ifeel that ice is slowly melting/
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear/
Here comes the sun....
Then he turned abit introspective. Though the day had broken clear and calm, the weathermanpredicted winds up to 35 knots that would whip Pillsbury Sound into a froth bymidday. Super Hippie had to beat the wind to Cabrita Point. "Mission:Impossible," he muttered as he watched the cloudless sky. "This tapewill self-destruct in five hours...."
It would take abit longer than that, but let's hear Super Hippie tell it as he might haverecorded it in his Love Book:
"9:53 a.m.Plane is approaching Drop Zone over Lynd Point. Decision: should I wear mysneakers or my magical python boots for the jump? Salt might rot them, but ithas to be the pythons. Pilot throttling back. Sea is wrinkled with light winds,sailboats look like frozen whitecaps, there's a slick 'O' on the water: theguide boat circling the target. Gotta remember: one, two, three, blow—the MaeWest. O'Brien is saying something. "Did you say NOW?' 'Yes, NOW,' saysO'Brien. 'I mean THEN! I mean, get the hell out!!' I get. Slide out of thehatch, cool hit from the wind, slight tug from the static line. Pow! Nothingever looked better than the chute opening up. Nice light through the chute'ssilk, panels—red, white, black. A mind-blower. Chilly up here but you can seethe islands lying green and solid all around, getting bigger. Dead quiet, eventhe plane only a faint buzz receding. Music coming up from somewhere, from theguide boat—yeah, Here Comes the Sun. Nice of them. Play with the toggles abit—sure, you can move yourself around. Wow! This is a real Wow, a trip and ahalf! All my energy is going in 2½ minutes—I won't be able to swim a strokewhen I.... How close is the water? Should I unstrap myself? Wait. O'Brien said:'if you take that off, you fall out of the chute.' Ha, ha, ha, I'd better wait.And here comes the SEA!!! Turn into the wind!!!
"9:55 a.m.Kersplash! The sea is chilly warm, and the chute is blowing to leeward. I'mclear of the shrouds. The divers are off the boat, swimming to help me cutloose. Gotta say something: "Wow, outasight, I'm going to do thisagain—this afternoon! Al-hamdu-illah!' Wiggle-struggle out of the harness, outof the hard hat and the shirt and the python boots. Swimming free now. Energy'sup again. Head for the half-moon beach on St. John to make the touchdown beforebeginning the distance swim to St. Thomas.
"10 a.m. Onthe beach. Smooth pebbles, some as big as a hand, and the surf rattles them sothat it sounds like distant applause. O.K. Lay some Vaseline on my armpits toprevent chafing during the distance swim. Meditate a bit about what I'm goingto do. 'Energy Up. I throw my hands in the air and feel the energy runthrough.' Hyperventilate. All right—into the water.
"10:02 a.m.This is the hard part, the rough part, swimming over distance. How many mileshave I swum in my life—2,000? Has to be the loneliest sport—you don't seeanything but a blue blur, bubbles, your arms flashing out and down. Gogglesbiting against your eye sockets. The gurgle of water and the squealing of theboat's engine. Finally you find a rhythm—BACK Go the Old Miles; UP Come the NewMiles—on and on and on. When it starts to hurt, when your shoulders and legsbegin turning to lead, you gotta step out-side yourself. The pain is in yourbody, not your head. I get mean and sullen during the first half hour. I wantto quit. But they never let me, the guys in the boat. Then I step outside mybody and watch it swim on—75 strokes to the minute. What do you get out ofdistance swimming? Well, you get to see halos around every lightbulb after aworkout. Maybe that's the only reward—or maybe it's just eyestrain. BACK Go theOld Miles....
"11:58 a.m.Touchdown on Cabrita Point. For a while there, during the last half hour of theswim, the current was setting me to the east of Cabrita at a helluva clip. Hadto keep the telephone poles in sight and hold them steady over my right hand.Then the water began to shoal—brown streaks of coral, the bright flash of a bigfish—maybe dolphin. I couldn't start to worry 'shark.' Then working in throughthe big brain corals. Watch out for those sea urchins, the competitive littlebuggers. Ouch! One of them got me, anyway, and a fire coral zapped my bellybutton. There's the catchphrase: Earth, Air, Fire Coral and Water. O.K., nowI'll take a breather on the rocks of Cabrita until they bring me theAqua-Lung.
"1:00 p.m.Longer rest than I'd anticipated. They lost the dinghy and had to go retrieveit, then the towline got caught in the propeller. Meanwhile I'm gettingscorched. Here Comes the Sun—you bet. Why don't he go away? All right—into theAqua-Lung, rubber taste of the mouthpiece, beep-beep of the regulator and awaywe go. Down, down. Hold your nose and blow to clear the Eustachian tubes. Pop!Breathe the cool air from the tanks and release it. Slowly. The caves—underlitby reflections of light off the lip of the canyon, a world in reverse.Squadrons of gaudy fish hugging the coral—scared and twitching, but in unison!A green thing as thick as a fire hose, a moray eel, ducking into the dark.Lobsters—two of them. I flash onto the millions of evolutionary years they'vebeen waiting here, scuttling across the coral rubble. Mainly it's cool anddark, and you can feel the vibes of this uptight undersea world. Big fish eatlittle fish. They're afraid of my shadow. Just cruise along, don't spook'em—shoot, my hair's caught in the regulator! Long-hairs don't belong undersea....
"1:55 p.m.Out of the tank and onto the beach. I've got it whipped! I'm breathing easy andthe sea urchin spines don't even hurt. Now it's the run, and that's cool. Downthrough the saw grass, pounding beneath the thorns, glimpses of Greekphilosophers and black islanders playing around in the bay back of Bluebeard's.Whoever called it The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner? It can't belonely when you can see people and trees and grass and houses. Lonely is forswimmers. Ooops! Made a wrong turn there, gotta backtrack to the road. Now it'sgetting hot, and my feet—they got soft and spongy in the water—are starting toblister in my shoes. A mongoose scutters across the road. There used to be alot of snakes on the island, so they brought in the mongoose. He cleaned up thesnakes, but now he runs around in his impudent way, killing cats and chickens,and generally being competitive. Bad scene. Some say that the tourist willreplace the mongoose. It's all right, keep 'em running—keep your head onanything but the heat and the blisters. Baby goats grazing in a field; horsesstaring walleyed at a sign that says Quiet Church; little knots of peoplestopping and staring and thinking 'Who's that freak?' A long rise, a drainageditch, the stink of a cesspool—this is sport with the germs on it. O.K.,there's the Lone Eagle Bar and Grocery, and beside it stands the bike. Thebeloved scrambler. Zoom and spokes and a seat to rest my butt upon. Just abouttime....
"3:27 p.m.VROOOOM !!! I'm off on the last leg of the Peace Pentathlon, using technologyto speed me on my way. Nothing wrong with technology if it's used for thenecessities and for fun. Maybe I'm polluting a bit, maybe the machine should bepowered by an electric motor—why don't they develop a solar pill, somethingthat soaks up the sun's energy and condenses it, distills it into a supersource of power? They can do it, we can do it. Meanwhile—VROOOOM!!! Lean intothe hard right, tip of the toe on the gearshift, accelerate into the straight,back off and let the engine brake into the next corner, sprint into MandalValley. Old Danish farms, walls chock-a block to the rutted road, powpowpowover the potholes, past slow, bright stands of hibiscus, past Drake's Seatwhere the great English pirate looked down on the Caribbean and counted hisdoubloons, up along Magens Bay where someone got eaten by a shark not long ago(thank God there were none cruising Pillsbury Sound today), more corners, morestraights, a church, a cool stand of rainforest and now—The End of the Line!It's 4:10 p.m.
"In a way, itwas almost like living the history of the species. Not only my personalevolution, growing physically stronger and mentally more aware and sensitive,but the evolution of man—dropping out of the heavens into the sea. Goingunderwater—living as one with this environment. Coming out of the water throughthe sharp coral, the sea violently smashing itself and me against the coral, Irealized the tremendous changes that man has been through. I was living thechanges. I was in a mini-capsuled evolution. As I crawled out of the sea therewas a moment when my legs were a bit weak. They became stronger as I ranthrough the jungle, and then on the bike I was into the modern era,technologizing my way into the future. Out of the sky and up to themountaintop. That's the way she goes."
Super Hippiewasn't even breathing hard when he dismounted from the bike at the end of thePeace Pentathlon. All he said was: "Nice day, huh?" From the lookout onMountaintop that marked the finish, he could see clear across to St. John,where he had jumped out of the airplane six hours and 17 minutes earlier.
That night hedonned his No. 1 Adventurer's Outfit and attended a luau at a nightspot calledSomeplace Else. Pigs were cooking over the coals. Clouds of steam mixed withcharcoal smoke masked the tropical air. The scene, through the smoke, lookedlike the end of the world—or maybe the beginning. All of the freaks werethere—Bobby, the joint's Nisei owner, in his handlebar mustache and trimBermudas: clutches of vacationing fags holding hands: chicks in silver lamépants who moved through the haze with glistening grace. A rock band played HereComes the Sun.
Super Hippiestood cool in the smoke, soaking up adulation. He held a pork chop in one hand,a silver-lamé girl with the other. "Well," he said, "we sure showedthose dope-smoking kids that clean living pays off." Then helaughed—noncompetitively. Byron might not have understood, but the crew of theYellow Submarine could dig it.