Surfing Makes You A Better Person

Unknown-1Illustration: Noa Emberson.

When I Haven’t Surfed Lately…

Sure, the sun’s out right now, but nothing sunny lasts forever and that swell that they’re calling for this weekend will probably be downgraded. Plus the tide’s fat in the mornings and I’m working all day Saturday so there’s no use in checking. And if I sound a little negative, well then you’ll have to excuse me because when I haven’t surfed lately, I’m a horrible person. Yep, when I haven’t surfed lately I’m a little on edge, I’m a little stir-crazy, a little impatient, a little too available. There’s no difference in hue between my face and lower neck and I’ll check the change that you’ve given me at the register to make sure it’s correct, and the front page of the paper says there’s trouble in Syria, but isn’t there always? Pardon my pessimism, but when I haven’t surfed lately, I’m a horrible person.

Yes, you will sense it as it happens because I’m the guy taking it way too far on the group text messages, I’m the jerk with the psychotic asides on your favorite website’s comment board, and for God’s sake, get a job, hobo!

When I haven’t surfed lately, I’m a horrible person. Indeed, more than a few days without submersion and I can hear them muttering in the other room, somebody missed their coffee today and I heard he snapped on a bum! Well, you know what, I did snap on him, because when I haven’t surfed lately, I’m a horrible person.

When I haven’t surfed lately the world is colorless and drab, overcast and dreary; every streetlight flashes red; every parking spot is taken; and when she asks me how my day was, I scowl, “Fine,” but I sure as hell don’t mean it. Yes, my skin crawls uncomfortably from the lack of salinity and I am cantankerous and short with her when she asks what I want for dinner, and we got a wedding invitation in the mail but, seriously, what are the odds of those two even lasting? Please excuse my sullen outlook, but when I haven’t surfed lately, I’m a horrible person. Too long out of the water and I am glass-half-empty, downtrodden and jowly, murderous and neurotic. They spelled my name Blean on my Starbucks to-go cup? Are you f–king kidding me? Yes, when I haven’t surfed lately, I’m a god-awful, horrible person.

But.

When I have surfed lately, surely you will know it. You’ll hear me humming ‘round the corner, see me dancing through the hallways. You’ll catch me tap-dancing in the restroom, watch me shimmy in the end zone. When I’ve been in the water lately, there’s a silver lining on a hurricane and a hidden warmth in the winter. She tells me, My, you’re in a good mood today, and if grandpa was still around, he’d tell me I was “such a card.” Yes, when I’ve been in the water lately, my puns get the most LOLs on the group text, my color’s back, my back’s all cracked, my hair is stiff and salty, and hell, just look at the sign — they’re practically giving gas away these days! Indeed, when I’ve been surfing lately, I’m a fantastic person.

Yes, when I have been surfing lately, my body is singing, my eyes are crispy red, my lips are cracked and the shade of my hands doesn’t match my forearms. There are dishes that need doing, rooms that need sweeping, and the plants in the garden are withering and thirsty. Yes, when I have surfed lately, punctuality’s not a priority and I am late to work with sunscreen smears not quite totally washed away. The boss takes a look at me and shakes his head, but he should’ve known who he hired when he hired a surfer: a circumstantially fantastic person.

And who cares what he thinks, anyway? After a good run of surfing I feel like I could get a way better job. Hell, I could be my own boss. Hell, I could run for president! I feel like I might have a solution to that Middle East fiasco, like maybe I could solve world hunger, like maybe I just found the cure, and god how beautiful is my wife! You’ll have to excuse my raging positivity but I’ve been surfing a lot lately, and I’m a much better person for it. —Beau Flemister