Timbre #63: Of Great Unimportance

Important things are—by and large—not very good things.

Jury duty is important, as are term papers, parking tickets, mandatory meetings, dentist visits, cleaning toilets, registering for the draft, double yellows, and contests of any sort. Argue with this list if you like, but know that while arguing with lists might make you feel or sound important, it’s also not a very good idea.

One reason Daniel Vargas is such a good person is that he always makes time to kick it. Photo: Richie Valdez

When someone boldly states, “I’ve got more important things to do!” and then huffs off to take care of those pressing matters, they’re probably pissed off at the fact that (first) there are some deeds that they absolutely need to get done, and (second) those deeds are probably on another list of some sort. Maybe one starting with the headline, “TO DO.”

Deeds on a list are—by and large—not very good things.

I think by and large means most of the time.

Flying purple fliptrick believer. Josh Matthews puts his faith in one of skateboarding’s boilerplates. Photo: Jon Humphries

Many times, one can hear the important-things quote spoken loudly in times of stress, moodiness, and/or jealousy. The louder it’s exclaimed, the more aggravated the person using it—no doubt perturbed that (first) someone has put a list of important things together for them, and (second) others seem to have no list and are instead doing—by and large—less important things.

Most of the time.

If, however, there are more important things to do, and more important things to shout about, and more important things to put on lists, there must also be lots of unimportant and very good things.

Cheesy blaster. Mark Hamilton grills up a pungent Madonna. Photo: Mark Waters

Which brings me to my point.

Skateboarding is very, very, very unimportant—by and large.

Of course, people claim that skateboarding has saved their lives, or skateboarding has allowed them to rise from the depths of depression, or skateboarding has taught them everything they know, or skateboarding has allowed them to see the world in a different light. And while those testaments can be viewed as having importance, it’s surely skateboarding’s frivolity that allowed those testaments to be made manifest. Don’t you think?

I think frivolity means of little or no weight, characterized by a lack of seriousness. Wild guess.

Wallride disaster. Oudalay Philavanh prepares for relief efforts. Photo: Jon Humphries

The times skateboarding finds itself presently anchored in can seem very solemn and very arrogant, but they really aren’t. Why? Because it’s skateboarding, you idiot. People carrying themselves with the false air of significance or standing behind the façade of notability are pretending. They’re the dicks at the session, they’re the ones whose board isn’t right, whose trucks are too tight, whose bearings aren’t Swiss enough, complaining about the spot, telling you everything that’s wrong, trying to bring you into their heavy fold—the very individuals who speak loudly about having more important things to do.

The act of skateboarding is fun. It’s a complete good. It’s a complex diversion. A glad-handed cluster of details and moments that is ultimately and beautifully unimportant deep down to its very core.

Skateboarding doesn’t matter in the least.

The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain. Grant Wadsworth Taylor gets wet. Photo: Ryan Flynn

And through the nature of skateboarding’s insignificance, it calls to us. It beckons through the brick walls of institutions, screaming through garbage day, laughing from somewhere inside the jabbering of every boss on the planet, and guffawing through the white shirts of Radio Shack employees.

I think guffawing means you have some less important things to do.