This weekend I conquered a phobia that has plagued me for more than 20 years: I went in the ocean! I haven’t gone into the ocean (literally, past my ankles) since the age of 8 or 9, for fear of what’s lurking on the sea floor. On the hottest summer days I’d walk to the edge of where the surf hits the sand, and stare out into the beautiful blue with a look of fear and horror on my face.

But the other day, thanks to my friend Michael’s fully scheduled camp itinerary for the Fourth of July weekend, we all went surfing with a surf instructor on the shores of Nantucket. It was amazing! I helped address the biggest problem by buying those really tacky water-booty-shoes for my feet, so I wouldn’t feel anything swimming between my toes. We wore wet suits which covered most of my body, and I kept my eyes and mouth shut to prevent any jellyfish from swimming into me.

When you’re really afraid of things, logic goes squarely out the window. But, thanks to wanting to look and feel cool, I conquered that fear and will (probably) return to the ocean one day. I feel like Hemingway should have written a sequel: “The Old Jew and the Ocean.”