Friday, March 30, 2007

Dressing the Part

Know what bugs me? People who dress the part, but when you call their bluff, they know Jack.

For example, truck driver hat wearing, PBR drinking hipsters who think they’re bike messengers, 50 year old MBA guys riding Hogs who think they’re bad boys, North Face jacket Blue-Tooth yuppies who think they’re hardcore climbers, etc.

Case in point, I was walking down a hill yesterday with my dog Scout and we ran into 2 kids with skateboards walking up. Yeah, they were dressed the part with their “skateboard clothes”.

So I said to them, “You guys going run the hill from the top?” Then one of the skaters said, “That’s sick, dude”. I reply, “When I was your age, we used to bomb hills like this all the time. Just point it straight and ride it out.” They gave me a nasty look like shut up old man. My departing words were, “You guys are wussies and you’re a disagree to the Z-boys.” They said, “Z who?” I just lowered my head and walked away in disgust.

When I started to skateboard in the early 1970’s, there were no “image clothes”; except for some local surfing t-shirts. You just wore whatever clothes you had, which were pretty much hand-me-downs from the older brothers. We just wanted to skate as much as possible. Clothes were secondary.

Now image, via heavy-duty marketing, drives everything (e.g., brand named clothes, iPods, flip-flops, etc.). Image is more important than the actual activity itself. In my upper-middle class neighborhood, I see tons of kids walking around while holding their boards like a damn prop. I just want to yell, “Drop the board and skate.”

Just go out and do it. And don’t worry so much about your looks.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Labor is Honorable

“Lord, give me work that’s open to the sky and that’s honest as the horse between my knees.” - Johnny Cash (the original punk rocker)

There’s a statue of E.J. Johnson (as in shoes) on the west side of Binghamton (NY) in Rec. Park that says, “Labor is Honorable”. That statue was a gift from the townspeople to Mr. Johnson, who at one time had most of the Triple Cities’ residents on the payroll.

Hard work keeps you honest.

Hard work is good for the soul.

It’s good to see more and more folks riding one gear bikes because Americans are getting way too fat, lazy and soft. (Why hasn’t a US runner won a major marathon in years? Please see previous sentence for answer.) We, as a country, want everything so easy and guaranteed.

Just look at our immigration mess in the US. Why can’t our government come up with a fair and legal immigration system? It shouldn’t be that difficult? Right?

Know why our government hasn’t come up with an immigration solution? Who else would dig our ditches? Who else would cut our lawns? When I grew up, we all spent time at the end of a shovel. Middle class Americans don’t dig holes any more. And me, I’m probably the only guy in my neighborhood that still cuts his own lawn.

OK. Focus (sorry).

With a geared bike, you know that you can make it over any hill. The only question is, how fast? On a one gear bike, it takes a stout effort to get over any hill and the outcome isn’t always certain. The “walk of shame” is always a possibility. It takes good, old hard work to ride hills on a one gear bike.

So, get on that one gear bike and earn your hills (or as they say in backcountry skiing, “earn your turns”). And don’t be afraid of a little hard work, it’s good for you.