Sunday, November 06, 2011

Cool Product Pick of the Week

So, having concluded that I will never be able to overcome the social anxiety associated with whitewater kayaking, or my intense fear of water, I began searching for something just as mismatched to my level of athleticism but more terrestrial in nature to perseverate on for the next several years at least. After rigorously inventorying my own needs and desires regarding a new pastime, after analyzing its risks and potential rewards, its costs and potential benefits, its similarities and differences to previous pastimes which have failed to satisfy, and after forecasting that it will not satisfy either, I decided skateboarding was right for me! But buying my first skateboard at age 40 proved difficult, at least at first. Let me provide some framework for all of you non-skaters who don't possess the vast knowledge of skateboard set-up that I've acquired in the last two days:

Skateboards, other than cruisers and low-end boards, generally do no come complete. The ones that are sold complete are called--you guessed it--completes. The vast majority of skateboards, though, are sold with the deck and the hardware separate to allow for customization. I have deeply-rooted brand preferences regarding trucks and bearings following two days of intensive skateboard research so going the custom route is the obvious choice for me. So when I went to to build my board, I immediately selected my Independent Stage 10 Standard Trucks and Bones Super Reds Bearings (because that's what I use on all my boards) and only then began shopping for a deck. That's where the difficulty began.

Skateboarding is a young person's activity, you see. Skateboard companies, quite appropriately, design graphics for their boards which tend to appeal to young users rather than older users. I don't really know what things interest young people today, but based on the hundreds of skateboard decks I've viewed in the last two days, I'd say skulls, cheap beer, and Rastafarian pandas top the list. I'm not interested in any of these things. Still, with over 500 decks available at Skate Warehouse, there ought to be one that would appeal to a low-key, sensible forty-something like me, right? Fortunately, the web site displays brand icons for each of the 61--Yes, 61!--brands of skateboard deck which allowed me to instantly rule out at least half of them. Half of them had skulls! There were some promising brands: Think, Habitat, Element, and Loser Machine appealed to me because of the names themselves and Sims had a very simple logo that moved me. I clicked on all of them and found nothing. Element had some cool global warming graphics that I liked but they used an expensive, hollow core construction which is probably the shiznit if you're a hundred-pound teenager. I am not a hundred-pound teenager.

My skateboarding whim nearly died right there. I took a break, ate some chili dogs, and reflected on my life. Is skateboarding really the right hobby for me? Is any hobby the right hobby for me? Is it wrong to have hobbies which I know deep-down are not right for me? Is it wrong to have hobbies at all? Do my hobbies really add meaning to my life or only the illusion of meaning? Is it immoral to expend limited resources on hobbies while obligations go unmet? Without the escape of hobbies, would my psychological state become so severely damaged that I would be unable to meet my obligations regardless of the limited resources available to me? Is skateboarding really the right hobby for me?

The break restored me and I was ready to continue shopping. One by one, I clicked on every brand icon and scrolled through every board. I clicked on Dark Star. I clicked on Deathwish. I clicked on Blood Wizard, Bullet, and Threat. Then, without thought to the name at all, by mechanical repetition, expecting nothing, I made one of the most wonderful clicks I've ever made! It was one of those rare clicks that takes you from This, to That, and I was in another world! I was in the forty-year-old skateboarding world!

The brand was Mini Logo. Mini Logo, I learned, is a product line offered by Skate One which is a manufacturer supplying raw skateboard decks to many of the 61 or so other skateboard companies who put skull, cheap beer, and Rastafarian panda graphics on them and sell them as their own. Blue, for me, was an arbitrary choice made from several equally good options:

I don't think I need to explain any more the joy that the whole Mini Logo concept brings to my soul. Just the existence of such a brand, of such a brand concept, gives me hope. It gives me faith in man. And most importantly, it convinces me that skateboarding absolutely is the right hobby for me!


Martijn said...

Terrific insight in the mind of the former 'Deathwish Dave', now cool collected scateboard shopper Dave. Great passage through the looking glass! I mean the welcome into the adult world. I wish there are secret passages like that for everything (and not just in Florida). Super stuff!

But why not inline skating? Hê hê.

carl duewall said...

Wyle E. Coyote (Super Genius)

Anonymous said...

What happened to running?

red dirt girl said...

Dave! I just wrote my own version of a 'forty-something' looking for meaning in French novels. I think your version of self-actualization is better than mine. This post is COOL!

(Did you purchase padding and a helmet to go with it all ???)

worrying about your safety,
your mulish friend,

Dave Renfro said...

Hi, Martijn! I'd forgotten about Deathwish Dave. Wasn't that from some runination about how I take a creek boat down easy class I rivers? What an absurd hobby for me, kayaking was! Skateboarding makes much more sense.

Dave Renfro said...

Carl, we'll see how super genius I am when I'm on short-term disability for a foosh injury (fell on outstretched hand). Beep beep!

Dave Renfro said...

Hey anonymous, want to run the Fayetteville Half with me next month?

Dave Renfro said...

Hi Mule Friend! I like "the God of Abraham Maslow" just as much as the next guy, but I'm no where near His magical state of "self-actualization." I'm still trying to take care of physiological needs like excretion.

More later, gotta get to my empty, meaningless job!

bulletholes said...

Chili dogs. They will change your life man.

Martijn said...

Yes, Deathwish Dave had something to do with kayakking, but I forgot the exact context... I just loved the name so much.

'Cool Product Pick' I like too. I almost stole it from you today because I have just had the Coolest Product Pick of My Life, when I bought a capodaster. That tiny clamp thingy is openeing up a World of Songs for me! Songs that were too high or low and had to be reworked into other keys, awkward keys... they all came back to me! Coolest Product ever! But I'll not write that post on my end. I just tell it where it belongs, here on this lawn care kayakking bagpipes skateboard Proust & Holy Ku'ran blog. Hey Dave!