The Varmint Turns 40

Yesterday was a big day in Varmintville.

Having climbed to the pinnacle of his varmintness, he stood proud and tall, nose into the wind: The Varmint turned 40. 

Of course, you can only keep your nose into the wind for so long without getting frostbite. So, in true Varmint fashion, he scrounged around for an excuse to make the descent from the peak of his prime with a WHOO-HOOO and in high-style - and sniffed out The Varmint equivalent of a red convertible.  

"I want a surfboard for my birthday," he announces sometime late last week in a brook no-nonsense, this-is-not-negotiable sort of way. 

Without looking up from what I'm doing, I reply, "Mmmm. Thought you might." 

"I need a board for small waves. I don't have a small-wave board - and here in San Diego, it's really important. To have a board, you know, for small waves," he pauses, "It would really open up the number of days I could surf..."

"Mmmm," I say, neutrally.

"Soooo.... I'm shopping for a surfboard," says The Varmint, looking at me sideways.

"Yeah. I got that," I say.

"It might be expensive," he offers, a little hesitantly.

"Well, it's your 40th," comes my smooth reply, "We'll deal."  

"Um... ok? Ok. Cool," says The Varmint, a little surprised. He hesitates a minute, then turns to go downstairs to the studio.

"Just one thing," I say casually, and he stops dead in his tracks. "Don't forget the 3-to-1 Rule."

He turns back to me, quizzically, "The 3-to-1 Rule?"

VarmintTreasure"You have 13 surfboards. When you moved in here, you agreed that anytime you got a new one, three were going out the door, remember?" 

"Oh. Right," he says, hunching slightly and grimacing, "I did, didn't I?"

"Mmm-hmmm," I nod, burying my face back into my laptop. "You did." 

"I guess thirteen boards is a lot of boards," he says slowly, looking for some sort of emergency exit from the situation.

"Yep," my fingers click away on the keyboard.

Capitulating with a deep sigh, he says, "Alright. I'll think about which ones."

As I watch him take the steps to the studio, I know it's a decision that is weighing heavily on his Varmint brain: Which boards should I orphan? Where to sell them? Do I try to store them at my brother's house? Maybe I could secretly rent storage and never have to get rid of any... Would she notice if I built a rack on the north side of the house? Maybe I could put one or two under my desk?

I know how he feels, as I've been cleaning out my closet lately. But this is a little different. When it comes to a surfer getting rid of an old surfboard, it's like a normal person putting a beloved dog to sleep, or worse.

For The Varmint, it's definitely a Sophie's Choice moment. I can picture him clutching his new board with one arm, while reaching out for the other and screaming "Nooooooo!" as it is carried away.   

Think of the new board, babe. And if it's any consolation, the other ones will be going to happier homes, where they might actually get wet and see some surf time with their new, less discriminating riders. 

Love you, sweetheart. Happy 40th. 




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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >