The Seagulls and the Sea Will Still Be There Tomorrow
A Profile of Aaron Nevins
By AARON NEVINS
It was a moist Tuesday night at a shitty local bar. Pockets of twenty-somethings and retirees alike were congregating and bonding over beverages and televised sports matchups.
But Aaron Nevins sat alone, away from the regulars. It was his first time at this bar, and he was here for a decidedly different reason.
Nevins, 21, is of below-average height. He slouches. He responds to the name “Aaron Nevins.” A mess of uncombed curls sits on top of his head, probably the result of a girl telling him it was “sort of cute” one time after he was a few weeks late for a haircut.
“I always thought it would be cool to have one of those in-depth, magazine-style profiles written about me,” he explained, nursing a decaffeinated Red Bull with a shot of non-alcoholic Vodka. “But I haven’t done anything noteworthy, so there’s been no demand for anybody to write one.”
He was beginning to draw stares from other patrons of the bar, primarily due to the fact that he was talking at full volume to himself.
“So one day, I just said, ‘Fine, I’ll write a profile about me.’”
Demonstrating how seriously he was taking this endeavor, Nevins had brought a notepad to the bar, and was taking shorthand notes of his own one-sided conversation. He also brought a tape recorder, for accurate direct quotes.
“I have an iPod Touch with a voice memo app,” he said, as a waitress dropped a glass in the background. “I guess I could have used that instead of buying a tape recorder on eBay.”
Though he second-guessed his chosen sound recording tool, Aaron Nevins was unwavering in his commitment to his larger goal: to be a fly-on-the-wall in his own life, and write a profile piece as both the journalist and the subject.
At the crack of dawn the following morning, Nevins took me out on Lake Dakshina on a boat he rented for the express purpose of being interviewed on it.
“It seems like a lot of these profiles usually have a section that takes place on a boat,” he said. “Or whatever.”
It was smooth sailing for most of the day. As we glided along the placid Dakshina, Nevins opened up about his accomplishments.
“I graduated high school,” he boasted.
Much as the visage of his rental boat reflected in the majestic lake, Nevins, too, saw his reflection in the lake. This didn’t spark any sort of metaphorical reflection on his part. Just literal reflection.
“I’ll never forget what my dad told me,” he said, much, much later in the day. “The only time my dad and I went crabbing, I remember I had some weird fear that seagulls were going to go extinct, and that the sea itself would soon follow. I was so consumed by this fear, I couldn’t even focus on baiting the crab traps. Finally, my dad just turned to me and said, ‘The seagulls and the sea will still be there tomorrow.’ There’s got to be some kind of deeper meaning to that statement.”
I’ve been examining that statement for days now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there is literally no deeper meaning to it. No symbolic value whatsoever.
And unfortunately, that was by far the most interesting excerpt from the ten-hour day we spent on Lake Dakshina.
“I’m sexually attracted to little baby piglets,” Aaron Nevins confessed before dinner that night at Chateau de Féves. “Please don’t take that out of context. It’ll look really bad.”
A waiter approached our table. Mr. Nevins ordered a basket of chicken fingers with a side of french fries. I include that sentence so you can make judgements about him based on the food he orders at restaurants.
As the meal progressed and he grew increasingly drunk on dipping sauce, Nevins became more and more candid about his regrets.
“When I went to my first rock concert, I got in line early so I could be in the front row,” he recalled. “But when the show started, it was too loud. I started crying and had to move a few rows back.”
He chewed on the memory for a moment while he chewed on his unadventurous entrée. “I guess it doesn’t really matter to me now, though, since I don’t even like that band anymore.”
On the way out of the restaurant (Nevins, a consummate gentleman, picked up the check), he remembered that it wasn’t a band after all, but rather a performance of Cartoon Stars On Ice.
“Sure, I coached Aaron Nevins,” said Tom Derricksberg, head swimming coach at President Mike Dukakis Elementary School. “Wait, is this Aaron Nevins? Your name came up on my caller ID.”
Nevins was now attempting to call people from his past, so he could pepper in their quotes to add color to the profile. Unfortunately, he had used all of his old address books and grade school yearbooks to line a bobcat cage. As a result, the only contact information he was able to locate was that of Coach Tom Derricksberg.
“Aaron used to do it all,” Derricksberg reminisced. “He used to do the backstroke. He would swim from one side of the pool to the other. He was one of our best swimmers.”
During the fact-checking for this story, we determined that Aaron Nevins was never actually on the swim team. In fact, he never swam in the presence of Derricksberg at all.
“He used to swim and kick and do flips in the water,” Derricksberg continued. “And after the big swim competitions, we’d go to Petey’s Ice Creams and we’d eat ice cream and sing songs.”
Tom Derricksberg passed away shortly before this article was finished.
The big day had finally arrived. It was the day Aaron Nevins had to renew his vehicle registration.
Nevins had received a notice about it months ago, but he waited too long, so he now had to physically go to the Motor Vehicle Commission in order to do so.
“I’m pretty nervous,” he confided. “I’m afraid it’s going to take too long. I was planning on seeing a movie after this.”
Nerves aside, Nevins confidently entered the MVC, clutching his renewal documents and six points of identification. The line stretched across the room.
“It’s times like these when I really start to think,” Nevins declared, setting up what was sure to be a deep and profound meditation on the human condition. “I start to think about how much it sucks to wait in long lines. Am I the only one who hates lines? I hate lines.”
Ultimately, Nevins made temporary peace with his hatred of lines and eventually made it to the front. And though he was successful in renewing his registration for yet another year, he narrowly missed the showtime of the movie he was hoping to catch.
“Well, it’s not really a big deal,” Nevins roared with the ferocity of a pack of mountain lions defending their habitat from a bulldozing crew. “I’ll just catch a later showing.”
And so, Aaron Nevins got in his car and set out on a bold quest to kill two hours before heading over to the theater. He was not a changed man. He was not a man who had wisdom to share. But he was a man. This was indisputable.
Okay, maybe someone would dispute that. I guess some might call him a boy.
Regardless, as he typed the final sentence of this piece, he truly understood that there was, perhaps, a reason why he never had a profile written about him before, and why it would most likely never happen again.