Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I saw a guy skateboarding yesterday who had a beard that was mostly gray. He looked like he could have been my age, but was probably a few years younger.

There aren't very many skateboarders my age.

When I was a younger kid, on the urban streets of Portland, the closest thing to a skateboard was the two halves of a metal roller skate (the kind with the adjustment key) nailed to the ends of a two-by-four. Properly, there was supposed to be an apple crate nailed on end to the front of the two by four, with a narrow board nailed across the top to provide handles.

They could be pretty fancy.

But sometimes, because the box came off in a mishap, or because apple crates were becoming harder to find, or because of sheer impatience, kids tried to ride on just the bare board.

It didn't work very well.

So I was surprised when we moved from rural Lake Stevens to the suburban hills of Lake Forest Park in 1962, or maybe a year or two after that move, that there were a few kids riding similar boxless devices where a piece of plywood had replaced the two-by-four. It was flat, but had some rounding on the ends, and apparently some flexibility in how the skates were mounted.

And it worked much better.

The fancy tricks came later, but apparently the journey was underway, and some kids my age were part of it. But I didn't see students commuting to college classes for a few more years after our age group, and it seems like the folks who did that are the ones more likely to still be doing it as grandpas.

Not that there aren't probably skateboarders in their eighties who were already too old for such foolishness when they started in their thirties.

I don't think I am about to take up skateboarding now, but I think I will continue to do things that qualify me for 'to old for such foolishness.'

And make a point to try out some new foolishnesses every now and then.

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