When I was a kid my dad used to tell lots of stories about growing up as one of 13 children on an Indiana farm. He’d usually trot these stories out when my brothers and I were bitching about something...which was a lot. I think what really pissed me off was that I always thought there was a bit of smug superiority in those stories. I always automatically thought he was going on about enduring farm life as a way to belittle my own lack of grit and to extoll the superiority of his own hard scrabble childhood; a childhood of waking at the crack of dawn, only wearing hand me down clothes and, yes, walking 3 miles to school uphill both ways. What pissed me off most of all though, was that, despite all of this supposed nostalgia for a life of rural poverty, my dad spent his whole life working his ass off to make sure none of his kids would ever have to live that sort of life themselves. It seemed hypocritical to me. If growing up that way was so much better, why weren’t we doing it? It was an easy way to intellectually negate the lesson he was really trying to teach me. I didn’t see what was really going on when dad would trot out the stories of 5 AM milkings and once-a-year mass family shoe shopping trips. Sure, there was a bit of of superiority and scolding in those bits of nostalgic musing, but the real reason those stories got repeated over and over again was to show us that things could be worse, and even if they were worse, we could survive them. Most of all, they were meant to make us appreciate what we had. Of course I was a sly, spoiled, little shit, so all this was lost on me when I needed to learn it most.
So what the hell does this have to do with skateboarding?