I’m a poser. Or at least I was until tonight.
In casual conversation anytime between yesterday and the month after I graduated high school, I had no problem letting slip to anyone in casual conversation that I “used to skate” in my teen days. Which, to be honest, was bulls**t. My “skating” amounted to the following: carrying around issues of Thrasher, being able to talk the talk, but being deathly afraid someone at somepoint would call me out. Luckily, a knee injury my senior year (on Ski Club) ended my pro career before it even took off.
I wanted to be a skater. They were cool. They listened to cool shit. Wore cool shoes. Got hot goth babes (Before anyone knew enough to call them goth) and had kick ass haircuts. I didn’t listen to ‘cool’ music. My first exposure to DeadKennedies or Violent Femmes was on the car ride downtown to the anti-drug meetings with Kara Putinksy. She was a punk. She hung out with skaters (and other people who seemed out of place at an anti-drug rally). And I probably had a crush on her. But she was in high school and I wasn’t. She knew all about the skater lifestyle. As did some of the people I attended school with.
The closest I came to this was a Variflex skateboard (complete with the little side rails and wussy plastic kick guard in the back) from K-Mart. I didn’t dare ride this at home, lest someone think I knew more about skating than I really did. No, instead I rode this at my grandparents farm in KY. Truth be told, it really was not conducive to learning anything about skating. I learned how to do a kick turn (or was it really just a spin?) on gravel. And my papaw put a couple of sheets of plywood in the yard for me to skate on (he didn’t know who Tony Hawk or Steve Caballero were but if his grandson wanted to be like them, it was cool by him). One summer, I came home. The board didn’t. That was officially the end of my skating (my dirt bike days met a similar end, although I could hang a little better on a bike than a board).
Somewhere along in my 20’s, my skating exploits seemed to be bigger in my memory than they actually were. The 3 sheets of plywood where a quarter pipe. And I was grinding and doing tricks like nobody’s business. Of course I never really came right out and said I could do all that stuff. I just never said I couldn’t. A few well placed nods completed the facade. Fact of the matter is, I couldn’t (and still can’t) even Ollie.
My stepson got a board (from Target) a couple weeks ago. The kids at the skate park are giving him shit because it’s not a real board (real meaning from a skateshop). But the owners of the two skateshops that I’ve talked to said that the Target board is the best way to start. No sense spending upwards of $65 if he’s going to get sick of it in 2 months. And it will be good for him to learn on a board like that. I told him this and told him to tell the kids at the skate park to stick it (only I said it in a nicer way than that). But I know how he feels. I had the equivalent back in the day of a Target Deck (only then, they were from K-Mart).
I, however, have a slightly sweeter deck now than I did in my youth. It’s a Jones Soda Company branded deck (don’t know who makes it, but it looks like it came from the skate shop-and since Bucky and Bam both ride for Jones, I’m guessing it’s pretty decent). And I can’t ride to save my ass. Tommy asked me to show him some tricks (since to him, a stepdad who hops on a board is pretty darn cool–cooler than a stepdad who just plays tony hawk on PS2)…and I had to tell him…”Dude. You are better now than I ever was. I have nothing to teach you on the board.” Jen started skating tonight, too. I let her start out on the Jones deck. I wanted to see if she’d be into it before we get her her first board (from Target). She was, and she really seemed like she was having fun with it. Which was pretty cool. And she’s pretty much up to speed with where I was when I was their age (meaning in another week or so, she’ll pass me too).
When we were in the skate shop (OldSkool), I talked to the dude. He asked me why I didn’t get the Jones deck set up for Tommy. I told him that my goal was to lose some weight and take up skating myself. He told me that skating again helped him lose 20lbs. He said he was just sitting around getting fat. I told him I know the feeling.
So, tonight the posing ended. Jen and I took turns on the board. I skated (a bit). I damn near pulled my groin. But it was fun-the skating, not the groin pulling. And it was really neat to see the look in the kids eyes when I was on the board. It didn’t take long for it to all come back to me (since I really hadn’t progressed much beyond my variflex days).
Maybe I had something to teach Tommy afterall. That it’s never too late to go back and try it again. And 20 years isn’t too long to be off the board…as long as you get back on.
I have no illusions of being any good at skating. I would like to get to the point where I could Ollie. Or where I could drop in at the skatepark or at Nash’s 1/2 pipe and not be scared that I’m gonna kill myself. But I’m holding no illusions of grandeur. Nancy runs and works out. If I can skate and ride my bike and get the exercise I need, then I’m cool with it. Anything’s better than sitting around getting fat.
I just think I need to get some pads.
And, as promised, here are some of the remaining pix from the Halloween party that we went to last night:
And that concludes tonight’s post. I’m going to hit the sack now. Today was quite the full day (blowing leaves in the front yard, riding my bike around, going to my parents for my grandfather’s birthday lunch, and then trying to ride a skateboard this evening)…and I’m tired.