Timbre #19: Be There

I crack myself up.

Like just now, I imagined myself in an XXL Hawaiian shirt, lugging one of those massive steel drums into the doctor’s office and trying to get him to prescribe me Rogaine because I’m interested in cultivating some dreadlocks.

The look on his imaginary face was pretty amazing.
Not quite Hawaiian shirty enough

Here’s a conversation I didn’t have, but still, it’s one of the funniest things I’ve heard in my entire life:



“Can you tell me the best way to get to Nisswa?”



“I said, ‘Nope.’ I can’t tell you that.”

“Oh. Okay. Do you mind if I tell you to fuck off then?”

“Please, feel free.”

“All right, Thanks!”

Oh, and here are a few a bumper stickers I thought of — once again, very funny to me:

My other car is a mini van, too.

I hate you and I vote.

One week at a time.

What Would Jason Jessee Do?

Namaste, bitch.

I’d rather be doing anything else.
Bumper crop.

Looking at all that stuff, it’s a good thing that I’m not obligated to crack anyone else up.

On the subject of doing anything else, though, let me ask you a question: Have you always wrestled with that? You know, not liking what you were doing at any given moment?

Well, since this is a essay and I can’t hear your answer, I’ll tell you mine — every single day for as far as my memory goes back, I’ve always wished I was doing something else. Every family vacation, every lunch shift, every kegger, even every hot date I’ve been on, there was always that little chirp in the back of my head saying, “It sure would be nice to be skating something right now.”

To tell you the truth (as far as you know), in the recent past I’ve become so involved in my personal struggle to get over to the greener side of the fence that I’ve actually adopted the opposite stance — somehow convincing my unfocused and restless self to find comfort in lazy picnicking, in the tedium of folding laundry, and in the carefree befriending of police officers.
Besties are always kidding around with each other.

It’s getting kind of ridiculous.

Because skateboarding wasn’t always the proud and broad-shouldered beast we know today — successfully leaping over things you can see from outer space and dressing everyone and her great-aunt in the carefree fashions of the suburban shitbag — I’ve always had something, or one thing, that I’d rather be doing. But now that something is everywhere and my well-conditioned mind is revolting, fighting the power that fueled it for these many years, altering my instincts, and, in essence, telling me to fly north for winter.

I no longer look with favor upon my church’s offerings — instead I look elsewhere for things I’d rather not see. Baseball looks okay, right about now. I’ve got a half a dozen tomato plants out back that need my immediate attention. And, sure, I’ll go to my mom’s best friend’s niece’s junior high graduation party — I mean, what else am I going to do?

In addition, I purposefully look away from the steps, banks, and bars of the urban environment, ignoring my little secret “what ifs” that used to pull me away from life’s dryness — instead I’ve found myself riding the more obvious planes of existence.

Thursday, for example, is no longer the first day of the weekend — the final countdown to abandoned federal and state buildings, empty schoolyards, and MIA security guards. No. Thursday is now the day that PGA tournament play begins.

Garage sales, I’ve convinced myself, are great places to socialize and maybe pick up an old vacuum or clipper ship painting.

I’ve also just found out that there’s a sophisticated culture behind operating ham radios. It’s really quite fascinating, not to mention fun. Ham radio volunteer opportunities are endless — helping to marshal busy intersections during holiday parades, chasing clouds to warn communities of impending storms, speaking broken German to someone you don’t know at 3:00 a.m. … it can be very rewarding.
Going HAM.

Also, did you know that people collect thimbles? Neither did I, but now we both know!

Don’t cry for me, though. I’m a pioneer, I’m a martyr, I’m lying to myself for the betterment of all of human kind, and in the middle of my own private hunger strike, I’m certain my demands will be met.

Why just the other day, I was in the middle of a twelve-hour car ride, dutifully observing the speed limit while meditating on the beauty of the double yellow, when a long-load tractor trailer grinded past me. Its trailer wasn’t a trailer at all, though. It was a twenty-foot-long, concrete full pipe.
Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 4.26.03 PM
Pipe Fitters Local 402.

Try as I might, fighting with the whole of my mainstream being to think only of goal posts and life insurance and bacon cheeseburgers, my emaciated skate-self woke up, made a quick inventory of the situation (your board is in the trunk; you can skate in the shoes you have on; you have enough gas to follow this semi to the end of the line), and broke through its jail of self-imposed reverse psychology.

The thirst is still there, even with the lakes, rivers, oceans, and humidity of skateboarding totally surrounding me. Finally, I’d rather be doing what I’ve always done — being mad, with only a couple things making me happy; healing while others are hurting; and taking up the mantle of the dude who’s the only one laughing at the parts of the movie that are clearly not hilarious.
Everyone, quick! Surround the kidney. Photo: JGB

I let the truck go, by the way. I’m respectfully holding out for the 70-meter wind tower. I heard they’re installing a half dozen of them around here this fall.

This is all pretty funny, wouldn’t you say?


Well, maybe you have to be there.

To read past Timbre essays, peruse the growing collection at: Timbre/Toner