“Who would be crazy enough to skateboard down that hill?” muttered Long Suffering Wife after reading about a recent accident.
In the corner, I slowly put my hand up.
As a boy, I’d conquered numerous hills around Gladstone, in spite of having large sections of my skin removed by gravel-coated cheese graters.
But my personal nemesis was Kauri Drive hill in Kin Kora. We saw it being built, and one afternoon, while watching an out of control grader sliding sideways down it, I thought, ‘Oh Yes!’
The bitumen was still cooling when my brother, his mate and I clambered to the top with our skateboards and peered down. My memory is a little vague, but I’m sure there were eagles gliding through the clouds below.
Anyway, after a horrifically fast ride, and lengthy recuperation, I decided that what I needed was a lower centre of gravity; and brakes.
Months later we dragged our home-built, timber go-kart to the precipice, where I put on my new rubber thongs and an ice-cream container helmet. Safety First.
Moments later I was in more trouble than a slow pedestrian crossing Philip Street. Slamming my thongs into the tarmac I yelped as they vanished in a puff of smoke, then screamed as I vaulted over the gutter. Sadly, I wasn’t lucky enough to be knocked unconscious.
Through the fog of pain I saw my brother and his mate race up, take one look, then run away again. In my delirium I thought they’d gone for help. Nope. Crawling home for another date with the scrubbing brush and disinfectant, I decided my time as a downhill test pilot was over.
Gladstone’s boys will continue seeking high hill thrills, and obviously we can’t stop them, but hopefully they’ll have the brains to strap a better class of ice-cream container onto their heads.