I've known for a long time that there's something not quite right about Surfer Dude. It's hard for a mother to admit these things, especially about her baby, but there comes a time to face facts. This particular fact has been ten years in the making, and every day that passes adds luster to his resume. He was the most docile of my three during infancy and he's been making up for lost time ever since.
I bring this up now because of something he did last week. The day I came home after work sick, I collapsed on the sofa, SD at my side. As the room bobbed and weaved around me I heard him on the phone talking to his dad at work. In gruesome, and highly embellished details, he had me sounding as if I needed the quickest Life Flight out. He finished off with a cheery "Bye Dad, have a great night, don't worry about mom. I'll take care of her." It took me a minute to realize that the phone had never rung and he was fabricating the entire one-sided conversation just to see if I was paying attention. A little later he started talking absolute gibberish to absolutely no one, making me, in my feverish state, look blankly around the living room to see who the hell was in there. When I pointed out the sadistic aspects of his tactics he laughed lustily and then promptly fell asleep. He had done what he set out to do. I don't know what exactly he was trying to do, but evidently he felt he had done it.
This is the kid who once ate half a slug on a dare. The kid who slept with his hand down his pants, a la Al Bundy in Married With Children, until he was in third grade. The kid who drank lighter fluid, and while I was on the phone hysterical with Poison Control, cruised the patio with a slab of watermelon in one hand and the other hand...down his pants. On the subject of Poison Control there was the time he picked up the wrong tube in the bathroom and accidentally brushed his teeth with Ben Gay. That was the only time I've ever heard Poison Control laugh out loud. And on the subject of watermelon, there was the time he took a house key and pushed it all the way into the cut part of a big watermelon. As I was racing around like a crazy woman looking for the key, he casually suggested that I might want to check the watermelon. Yeah, that would've been the next place on my list to look. Recently, he's become a foodie (at ten) and wanders into the kitchen as I'm cooking to critique my technique and offer suggestions that would make his hero Anthony Bourdain blush. Every time he says "deglaze" or "amuse bouche" or "tartare" he beams like a shopaholic in Macy's . He's not a normal kid.
I could go on for hours, I really could. He is the biggest character I've ever known, and while that isn't always good it's often funny. There are two quintessential Surfer Dude stories, and here is one...
The weekend before we made the move from California, my folks had a huge going away party for us. The Film Geek drove the moving truck and my mom was going to fly out with me and the kids (ages 7, 3 1/2 and 2). As we were running around doing all the crazy last minute stuff, Surfer Dude wandered out onto the patio and found an empty Corona bottle that we had somehow missed after the party. For all you Corona innocents out there, the important thing to remember is that the bottle is clear. He picked up the bottle, looked at it and casually threw it. Over the fence and into the pool, where it hit the water in the shallow end and shattered, all the nice clear glass pieces sinking to the bottom. I watched him do this, but wasn't fast enough to stop him. He was already moving on to his next bit of mayhem within seconds. My mother was beside herself, thinking that Grampa Stu was going to blow a gasket. The other kids were beside themselves wishing they'd thought of it. I was beside myself on general principle. So, as our rides to the airport started to arrive, this was the scene that greeted them -
My mother was crying on the phone trying to explain everything to Stu, who was laughing hard enough to hear across the patio. I was stripped down to my panties and bra, and was in the shallow end of the pool with a snorkle and mask diving for glass pieces. And all the boys were trying to climb the fence to take one last California swim with Mom.
And as I sat on a plane in wet underwear for four hours all I could think was "Damn, I could use a Corona about now."