FLORIDA MAN LACKS GUNS OR GOLF CLUBS.
My work is my play, and I tend to get bored trying to do leisure. But I'm an official Florida Man now and have to take advantage of the sun, surf, and balmy nights.
I love boating. Bimini for breakfast!
I used to take my cars on the racetrack in Palm Beach when I had better reflexes. Same for aerobatics, noted below.
We built our dream home on the beach, which is hard to complain about, but it does require constant maintenance. Sort of like a boat that doesn't move.
Sometimes I'll spend months on a home project that literally blows away if a storm hits our shore. Like furnishing a corner of our beach with a conversation pit and seeing a waterspout come onto shore and whisk it away. After watching new trees and foliage die in our sandy soil like a plant graveyard, I made sanctuaries out of artificial plants and trees I call my "evergreens."
Cruising Fort Lauderdale's canals.
The dolphins, from the Fountainbleu Hotel c 1959, spit water at each other across the pool.
Nothing grows in our sandy soil. I built this Tiki sanctuary with 100% artificial plants.
DANCING WITH THE PROS
THE T6 TEXAN: Overengineered and sturdy enough to remain in service until the 1960s.
THE P51D MUSTANG: The distinctive whine comes from air rushing through openings for the radiator and six gun ports.
My wife Carolyn always danced gracefully while I dragged both left feet to the floor. I signed us up for ballroom dancing lessons with awe-inspiring professionals from Eastern Europe and now we can hustle the night away with the best of them.
I learned to fly aerobatics without even a VFR pilot's license, thus needed an Instructor in the back seat when I took to the skies.
Exploring my passion for World War Two warbirds, I learned basic aerobatic maneuvers in the North American T6 Texan, the primary trainer for all Navy aviators and Army Air Force pilots in the early war years.
A Florida company offers simulated "dogfights" using two T6 trainers armed with laser cannon. Although I was usually outclassed by former military or aero-engineering professionals, I didn't care. I loved the action. And the fact that I didn't burn a smoking hole in the ground afterwards if I took a hit.
My aspirational warbird was the P51 Mustang "pursuit plane" (fighter,) probably the most satisfying piston engine aircraft ever built and almost as fast as a jet in a dive.
The 2-seater version of the P51 was notoriously hard to find in the U.S...my first turned up in New Zealand, where a masterful instructor taught me the Hammerhead with a nose-down vertical dive. Just like Vera, the WASP pilot from World War Two in my forthcoming book Regressor.