Hi all, this column appeared while we were on hols nearly 2 weeks ago. It was initially inspired by a comment from a mate on a forum who has made it one of her goals to ride a Rip Stick. At the time I had no idea what the hell a Rip Stick was… I do now! Cheers, Gb
Q: Why do men spend less time in therapy than women? A: Because they have much less distance to travel back to their childhoods.
There is, unfortunately, a lot of truth in this. No matter how old a man is, he always has an eighteen year old lurking inside him making some insane choices.
For example, during our weekly amble down at the marina we were passed by a kid on one of those new rip skateboardy things. As he slid by us in a lazy serpentine fashion, gliding effortlessly along the path, Long Suffering Wife muttered fiercely to me, “Don’t! Don’t even think about it!” Her mind reading abilities still continue to amaze and confound me on a daily basis.
When, the Littlest Princess shouted out, “Mum can I have one of those?!” I silently cheered, because there isn’t too much she doesn’t get. “No,” came the stern reply, “they’re far too dangerous.”
“I said No! And don’t bother asking your father, because he agrees with me, doesn’t he?!” she said, turning to face me. I had actually raised a finger in order to state my case in favour of the Littlest Princess, but instead muttered, “Your mother is quite right Chook.”
“Yes,” said LSW, “why don’t you ask Daddy about the last time he thought he could ride a skateboard?’
Oh, she had to bring that up! I was nineteen years old when my brother dug out his old skateboard, and as we pootled about in the driveway, cracking our shins, and twisting our ankles, we reminisced about some of the fun we’d had on the little wheeled plank.
“Hey, remember the time you tried to ride down Suicide Hill near Cypress Court?” he chortled. The smile vanished from my face, “No,” I said grimly, “I had, in fact, actually managed to forget all about that until now.”
“I’ve never seen so much blood!” he laughed. Neither had I. Unfortunately it was all mine.
“Then that time you…”
“Yeah, yeah!” I snapped, interrupting his reverie, “I’ve improved quite a bit since then.” He said nothing; the look on his face said it all.
Minutes later I was standing on a nearby hill, staring death in the face. Below us lay a long stretch of bitumen, and at the bottom was an intersection. As it was a Sunday there was no traffic, so I kicked off before I had time to think. And I actually managed to stay on the thing, much to everyone’s’ astonishment; especially the bloke driving the truck.
Staring into his equally shocked face as I raced toward him, I offered up the skateboarder’s prayer to Bingle, the God of Small Prangs, which basically goes, “Ogod! Ogod! Ogod! Ogod!” Bingle outdid himself, because I missed the truck and smacked into a nearby gutter instead.
In those sweet few seconds before the mind numbing pain cut in, I lay staring at the clear blue sky, enjoying the sight, sounds and smells around me, delighted to be alive. Eventually my brother arrived and he helped me home, where I spent a long and agonising evening sitting in the bath, having gravel and glass scrubbed from my bleeding hide. In those helmet-less days, I was fortunate to get off so lightly.
We haven’t bought a skate stick thingy despite the Littlest Princesses’ pleas. Partly because I don’t want her to experience the heart breaking pain of gravel rash, but mostly because I can’t be trusted not to have a go on the thing. At forty something years of age, I have the flexibility of a house brick, and I’m pretty sure I’ve used up all my favours with Bingle. Perhaps we’ll get one when the eighteen year old in my head finally shuffles off in disgust, allowing me to make saner, more rational choices; just like any other mature, wise, and sensible twenty-two year old does.