Sunday, November 15, 2009

Are You Goofy?

She looked at the skateboard but didn't quite know what to make of it, so she jumped on blindly and off she went without a care in the world. What else would you expect from the Village Idiot's wife?

There are only two types of people in the world, so far as I can tell; those who skateboard, and those who don't. I skateboard and I have since I was twelve, though I took a Rip Van Winklian break from it for over twenty years while I pursued other more pressing passions (mortgage, work, diaper changing, etc.). But I'm back now, with a vengeance.

Skateboarding is nothing more than an extension of all the other board sports that are favoured by leisurologists the world over; snowboarding, wakeboarding, surfing, windsurfing, ironing. Within the world of skateboarding there are two disciplines; longboarding and shortboarding.

Shortboarding is for young kids with malleable bones and no fear. A shortboard was made for doing tricks like ollies. Take note that the professor in this video starts his lesson with the ubiquitous street greeting 'yo, what's up', then goes on to tell you that you have to have 'pop like a rabbit'. If you'd like to watch this video in English, let me know and I'll look for a translation. Peace out.

Shortboards are the preferred weapon in skate parks, like the new one in Saint John (if you're not into skateboarding, you can just hum along to the video's delightful soundtrack!). Needless to say, I own a longboard. Longboards are for cruising. They give a more surfy feel on the street, which suits me just fine. They're also good for bombing hills, to which I'm allergic (road rash). Longboards, by definition, are long and much more user friendly. Quite often people who have never skateboarded before look at the longboard and want to give it a go. I look at them and say "are you goofy?"

It's a great opening line, better than 'yo, what's up?' My goofy question is actually a very serious one. It's a question that could mean the difference between a two month hospital stay in a body cast and, say, having a fun time learning to skateboard. I'm not dissing the body cast option, we all secretly desire sponge baths, but this isn't about suckling on the teats of Medicare; it's about skateboarding.

When you hop on a skateboard you either have your left foot at the front of the board, or your right foot. There are no other options unless you're a three-legged Russian immigrant from Chernobyl. Assuming that you have two legs and your left foot is forward, then you're considered to have a regular stance. If your right foot is forward, then you're consider to be goofy. Sorry, I didn't make up the language. These terms apply to all board sports, so if you're goofy in one, you're goofy in all. I'm a regular guy, but you probably guessed that from my writing style.

Most people, who have never skateboarded before, have no idea if they're goofy or not. I use two methods to discover footedness, though there are others. The first is to ask someone what leg they would use to kick a soccer ball. This identifies their power leg, which is the leg that goes at the back of the skateboard. So if you like to kick a soccer ball with your right leg, then you'll be riding regular stance. If you prefer to kick a soccer ball with your left leg (you freak!), then you're goofy.

I know another test to ascertain which stance is correct. You first ask the person if they're goofy, then you give them a hard shove backwards. Sure, it's a bit aggressive, but just watch how they respond. If they brace themselves with their right leg as they're careening backwards, then they're regular. If they brace themselves with their left leg, and then attack you, then they're goofy, but so are you for shoving them. I'd suggest using the soccer ball question to determine their orientation.

I skateboarded over to the Cambridge-Narrows post office the other day. As I was leaving the post office, our fill-in Village Clerk drove into the parking lot. She admired the skateboard. I said, "want to try it." She said sure and hopped on without any thought of whether she was regular or goofy. As it turned out, she was regular. Her husband, the Village Idiot, is definitely goofy, though I've never seen him skateboard before.

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