Timbre #70: Shook-Down Street

What’s the effect on those who are cried wolf to? The two birds forgotten once there’s one held in the hand? The friend, indeed, who’s never in need? The enemies kept farther away than allies? He who laughs last, but in silence?

Hard telling, but they (and by they, I mean we) are the hinges that this whole system swings on. Take us away, and everything sticks—stiff and static. No one to sell to, baby, no one to buy. We’re the nation’s healthcare problem, the price of eggs in China, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan—we’re the shook-down dowry payers for all the world’s sketchy marriages.

Arto Saari guides disaster to its final resting place. Photo: Anthony Acosta

And while the glossy tips of our glacial society lives comfortably, standing on the balding and dandruffed scalps of the shunned, the blown off, the made fun of, they (and by they I mean not us) see nothing worth looking at. Then they smile, nod their head at the bartender, and order another double … actually, since someone else is paying, make it a triple.

And so what?

They don’t care and neither do we. And that’s all of us, I believe.

Tom Asta takes his foot off the gas and hits cruise. Photo: Kyle Camarillo

I’m on my way to skate right now and nobody knows. Look and you can’t tell, tell and you can’t remember, remember and you’ll just as soon forget, looking right through me to the next person making alms for the greater good. And it’s awesome! I’ll just keep sitting here, mid-pack, cruising in anonymity along with the rest of these fucks, more like them than not like them except for the fact that my secret obsessions have made me bitter and made me submit and made me see what the rest of my ilk cannot, will not, and should not.

And what, you ask, is my glorious vision—the thing I’ve been blessed with seeing? Stained glass and singing angels? Bright new evolutions? Whirled peas and a whale of savings?

Blue Turner nose 51s. Photo: Mike O’Meally

No. It’s nothing; at least nothing to look at. Almost so laughable that it’s not even funny anymore. In fact, it may actually be so foreign that it comes across as intimidating, or scary, or (forgive me for even suggesting it) freakishly shitty.

In my possession, secretly hidden within the depths of my magic satchel, beneath layers upon layers of waterproofed Cordura, snap-together buckles, and YKK zippers are four of my most prized possessions—a matching set of four 60mm wheels with brand-new bearings pressed into them.

I’m on my way to try and skate vert and no one can stop me.

Ray Zimmerman packs a little Biniak into the end of Paramount’s halfpipe.

It won’t be pretty, but not much is anymore, so whatever. In this culture of bench dancers and wheelie riders, the idea of driving far, padding up, and uglying down the view is far from appetizing to anyone. And that’s perfect. More for me. A thousand kneeslides from now, after knuckle dragging and surviving a day of speedy wheel bites, we’ll still be funding the man, they’ll all still be repulsive, you’ll still be on your trip, and I’ll still be on mine.

And I’ll know what few others do.

Maybe you will too.

I said, death don’t have no mercy in this land. Kyle Kaitanjian don’t, either. Photo: MRZ

Through skateboarding, sucking, and nothingness, I can truly be hungry for something that only appeals to me, and then I can make it appear or I can annihilate it.

Or both.

Or neither.

And best of all, no one’s the wiser.

Jai Photo
Sid Enck Jr. heads down drain. Photo: Jai Tanju

So I’ll pay. I’ll live with myself and put up with all sorts of nonsense for the selfish privilege of not knowing what’s up, what’s happening, or what’s obvious, because while what we do is no longer secret, the when, the where, and the how we do it can still be a mystery—even to us.

As far as you know.