Timbre 40: I’m The Man

I have a confession.

It’s been 30 years since my last confession.

Since then, I’ve yelled at people who probably only deserved a smart-ass remark. I’ve also been a smart ass to people who deserved to be yelled at. I promise to fix that.

Oh, and I yelled at my dog, too. A lot. And loudly. She ate my pizza off the table. She kept licking the floor. She barked, and so I yelled. But she is deaf, so I’m not sure how I feel about that one. She’s getting her hair cut right now, though, and I promise when she gets home I won’t laugh.
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Arto Saari‘s the best, but he’s even better when he’s on board. Backyard frontside rock ’n’ roll. Photo: MRZ

Other than that …

Oh, there is one more thing. I didn’t ride my skateboard for over two weeks, just looked at it and ignored it. I know now that that was a mistake. And the other stuff I did instead were mistakes, too. I played my guitar a little. I drew a picture of my dog with really short fur (funny!), I rode my bike around, and I watched sports. But no skateboarding for two weeks.

That’s still a sin, right? But isn’t it only like a misdemeanor or something? I hope? You don’t need to worry yourself about assigning me any penance, though. I’ve already put myself through the wringer.

What was weird is I didn’t even know how bad things had gotten. After a couple days, I’d adjusted to the point where I even thought my board looked terrible, stupid, a waste of time and energy. So I just wrote it off.

Then I washed my car.

Then I went shopping for watch batteries.

Then I watched some home improvement shows.

Then I sat and drank coffee by myself.

Then I cleaned out my sock drawer.

For two goddamn weeks!
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I’d rather be kicking it at Channel Street. Daewon Song judos the door down in San Pedro. Photo: Giovanni Reda

And without even realizing it, I woke up every day to more contempt, more hate, more bitterness than I’ve ever felt. EVER. And I blamed it on everything but … my dog was dropping clumps of fur everywhere. FUCK! I HATE THAT! People were wearing sunglasses upside down on the backs of their necks. GO TO HELL, YOU BASTARDS! Then I stopped laughing out loud. Then I even stopped laughing not out loud. It was totally NLNOL.

But last night something grabbed me, and I in turn grabbed my board and headed out the door. And I skateboarded.

While I was out there in the dark just pushing and sliding through sandy corners and scraping curbs, I had a thought.

I want to always be the man I am when I’m skateboarding.

Who is that, though? I have to admit that I don’t really know—he’s a hard one to nail down. He’s pretty even keeled, not too judgmental, happy with his surroundings—all that Leave It To Beaver shit. He also looks for the unpredictable; he’s a reactionary but keeps his responses appropriate; he hums good music all the time.

Why him? How does he do it?

Well another hot thing about him is that he doesn’t ask too many questions. He just kinda skates and the rest of the stuff falls in to place easier than it would if he didn’t.

I like that guy.

Skateboarding isn’t always good, I’m not saying it is. But for the most part it has the potential to be always good. And based on the people we know, the days we’ve spent messing around, the visits we’ve made on behalf of riding skateboards—visits with friends, strangers, towns, streets, memories—and the reach that skateboarding tolerates, extending into would-be tomorrows and next weeks and the month after nexts, the man I am when I skateboard can say that skateboarding is always worth it.
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If you’re always skateboarding, you’ll always be the person you are when you skateboard. Willis Kimbel demonstrates. Photo: Jon Humphries

I love my dog more, my smart-ass remarks are funnier, my guitar gently weeps, and the dude with the neck-back glasses isn’t that big of an asshole when I’m the man who skateboards. Tomatoes taste awesome. Pink Floyd sounds amazing. And strangely, the man I am when I skateboard skates better when I skateboard. Every day. All day.

Can I get an Amen?