“I’m not someone who has a favorite movie or a favorite color or a favorite anything,” he said. “I’m not a favorite kind of guy. But I can tell you my favorite Zippo — the best Zippo, the one I would never sell, unless it was for maybe a thousand bucks.”
This Zippo carries on one side an official emblem, the military insignia of a riverboat with a skull and crossbones and the legend “Give no quarter.”
Turn it over, and four words have been etched into the chrome that seem to embrace the wisdom of all the other Zippos he has collected: “You can surf later.”
Riverboat duty was some of the most dangerous in the war, Mr. Edwards said, riverboats and helicopters. And how many surfers, really, ended up on Vietnam riverboats?
“This guy on the boat, we don’t know who he was,” he said. “We don’t know if he survived. But we’ve got this Zippo. I like it because it’s not enigmatic. It’s not ironic at all, it’s not tragic or sad. It has no deeper meaning.
“The only way he can get through this every day, the firefights. He gets his lighter, and he lights his joint, and he looks at his lighter and thinks to himself: ‘You can surf later. I’m going to get through this.’ ” (via NY Times)