Get used to it?
A popular cultural theory goes a little something like this:
Movies and TV shows like Close Encounters, Star Trek, X Files, and Star Wars are produced with one thing in mind¿their content, including hydrocephalic aliens, cigar-shaped spaceships, far-away galaxies, and unexplained phenomena, is supposed to get the public used to the fact that an invasion is coming. Supposedly, if a person has seen Battlestar Galactica they’ll be familiar with the idea of “other intelligent life,” and it’ll be easier for them to accept when non-Earthlings come to visit, en masse, and take us through a wormhole to their side of the universe.
Makes sense to me.
But I have to tell you, I worry sometimes that the “get used to it” theory is, at this very moment, being applied to skateboarding. I don’t want to get used to skateboarding.
When I see skating on TV, I want to be surprised. I always want to have that stunned feeling you get flipping channels and coming across a kickflip in a commercial, a road-trip documentary, or a contest. I don’t think Monday Night Skateboarding would be that great of an idea.
I don’t want to be overfed. I don’t want to have it stink. I don’t want to cringe. I don’t want to hate. I DO NOT WANT TO GET USED TO SKATEBOARDING.
I want to see a blackened ledge, a quarterpipe in a driveway, the railing of a backyard mini, or a box in a parking lot, and still be able to smile. I want to see a group of skateboarders gathered at the top of a set of stairs and be more than happy to nod my head at them.
I don’t want skateboarding to turn into a crowd of flailing in-liners wearing headphones and wrist guards as they struggle a billion strong through the comfortable air of the mainstream.
I feel the world is used to Britney Spears, they’re used to Old Navy, they’re used to Subway, and they’re used to Nike. Skateboarding is not “back to school,” it isn’t the gum that your parents would never chew, it isn’t next year’s gray, and I don’t want to be used to it.
Sure, I want there to be lots of skateboarding and skateboarders in my town, but I don’t want it to be a comforting sight for the unknowing public. Many say, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too,” or, “It comes with the territory.”
Here’s some news for you¿there’s no cake and there’s no territory. This is skateboarding, my friends, not some sound byte or worn-out cliché. It’s an anomaly, a deviation, an aberration; skateboarding is a virus that bobs and weaves around the antibiotic of accepted consumer enlightenment, making everyone exposed to it feel ill¿or at least say, “sick.”
Even now, as skateboarding’s numbers reach the proportions of a full-scale invasion easily capable of toppling entire governments, I don’t want get used to skateboarding.
No matter how many public parks there are, no matter how many people get into the sport, no matter how many mall stores carry a complete line of all the coolest skate products, no matter how many parents stop escorting their kids to Little League games and instead escort them to prepackaged funbox parks, I hope the world keeps this in their sights:
Skateboarding should always be a thing that pushes conceptions, a thing that scares even the crazy people, a thing that invents, a thing that stretches, a thing that turns heads, and a thing that quietly eats at the core of popular cultural theories from the inside.
Don’t get used to it.
Please and thank you.¿Kevin Wilkins