Chango–the best Friday the 13th ever

This story goes back to 2002, which makes it pretty epic.  In about 2002 (or possibly 2001) I took a little trip to Tijuana.  Back then you could go to TJ without worrying about being kidnapped or shot.  Dang drug war ruined everything!  (Just had a flash back to some good times–the lots of flavor ice cream place, TJ markets, that restaurant with the good goat meat.)

Anyhow, this was the golden era of TJ.  You could drive down to the border, park your car in a lot next to the entry, and just walk across with your drivers license as ID.  The market was just across a pedestrian bridge.

The market had all kinds of treasures–cheap jewelry,  pottery, leather goods (I do own a leather hat from another trip), anatomically shaped mugs, some guy’s sister (seriously, dudes used to offer their sisters to white guys, I am not making this up), and all kinds of ceramic items.  One such ceramic item caught my eye.  It was one of those instant passions you can’t explain.  If it’s wrong, you don’t want to be right.  It was a 12′ tall ceramic surfing monkey (technically a chimp, but I’ve always called it a monkey).  In my memory, I see purple, but it’s been a while.

From the posted picture (as found on the Surf Monkey Fellowship site <>), you can see that it’s super classy.  Beyond garden gnome classy.  It’s what garden gnomes put in their gardens.  However, my roommates did not quite see the classiness of this fine work of art.  This particular reproduction had a beer company imprint on the back (Coronoa or Dos Equis I think).  We arrived at an agreement.  I would be allowed to bring it into the apartment if it stayed in the closet.  I agreed.  I didn’t need it to be seen, I just needed to own it.  Best $5 ever spent.

So surf monkey lived in back of my closet for the rest of my residence in San Diego.  It must have been at least a half a year or more.  Then the call to depart for Utah came.  Sigh.  I still look back on my time in San Diego with great fondness.  If I could afford the lifestyle I enjoy now there, I would consider going back.  I digress.

In the spirit of expedency, I moved to Utah and during the move my surf monkey was broken into a million pieces.  Well, enough anyhow that I chucked him.  To my shame I did not regret it for years.  However, one day I was reminded of surf monkey and maybe because it reminded me of the good times in San Diego, I developed a renewed interest in owning a surf monkey.  I searched the internet for a trace of a surf monkey.  I even tried to find a mold so I could make my own if need be.  I searched classifieds and put ads on Craiglist in various SoCal cities looking for a ceramic surf monkey. On a trip back to San Diego I was even planning to pop over to TJ but was appraised of the change and strongly encouraged not to go.

Then today, a random post on Facebook asked about things we regretted losing.  Being the comedian I think I am, I mentioned my surf monkey.  I really do miss the surf monkey, but I was just being lighthearted.  So I opened google and typed in ceramic surf monkey one more time.  But lo, what is this?  (Choir of angels here)  I found a new website, The Surf Monkey Fellowship (

So now I have several leads on shops that sell the Surf Monkey.  Looks like they’re about $30 average now.  To get one shipped is about another $30 due to the delicate nature of their ceramic-ness.  I would pay $60 today for one.  However, I’m more of a quest kind of person, so I’m going to plan a trip to San Diego and go get on in person.  Overall it will cost more (especially with gas over $4 in CA right now), but I’ve been meaning to get back for a visit for a couple of years now.  I’m thinking maybe this Fall.

Good things always happen to me on Friday the 13th.  Case and point.  Knowing I can be reunited with a new little surf monkey friend has put a smile on my face.  And this time he will not sit in the closet.  One benefit to living alone, besides naked Tuesdays, is putting whatever tacky art out you want anywhere you want. I’m thinking dining table centerpiece.  Any other suggestions?

P.S. Apparently the ceramic surf monkeys have a nick-name, Chango.  I’ve also decided my next Ragnar team name is going to be Team Chango and we are going to wear stripped bathing suits like the chimps.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. surfmonkeyfellowship
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 16:19:49

    This is Beth Slevcove, creator of Surf Monkey Fellowship. You are definitely part of this elite fellowship! Pilgrimage down to San Diego and I’ll make sure you find a classy surf monkey to bring home. Great post. “it’s what garden gnomes put in their gardens,”–love it!
    Keep spreadin’ that monkey love.


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