Pity the eventual winner of Slap Magazine’s “One In A Million” contest, for this lucky young man will forever be doomed to push in the long, unsmiling shadow cast by Forrest Edwards, the switchstancer from Riverside who almost immediately cemented a position as the breakout character from what has become a sort of “America’s Next Top Flow Kid.” Aged 18 or 19 years and already a master of the lefthanded compliment, Forrest Edwards is estimated by scholars to have come of age right around January 8, 2004, when a younger and more tender U.S. populace met and introduced itself to a onetime political consultant named Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, villainess of Donald Trump’s initial run of “The Apprentice.” A lesson told in nine weeks: negative attitude, abrasive behavior and “not here to make friends” mindset buys notoriety that is worth its weight in American Idol text-messages.
Mango, the free-spirited ditch skater with the bad haircut, does not make Forrest Edwards laugh. Switch backside heelflipping a solid set of stairs does not crack his lips into a smile. Cigarette dangling dangerously from his mouth, Forrest Edwards broods and bides his time on those occasions when a handrail, double-set or ledge is not within reach. He’s not sorry that he broke Daryl Angel’s deck and transition is for old people and those intent on wasting an opportunity to carve out a piece of the lucrative sponsorship pie. He knows the names of the forgotten reality TV gods like Puck and Richard Hatch who long ago painted on television’s cave-walls the arcane lore, if you are not on-screen, you at least ought to be spoken of, and damn the consequences.
The web-evolution of the “One In A Million” contest has birthed a camera-ready series that, with a bit more coverage of after-hours chill/party sessions, could stand alongside all your “America’s Next Top Models” or “Real World Road Rules Challenges” in terms of painfully earnest moments of self-realization, product placement and shoehorned-in celeb cameos. In Forrest Edwards they have an Omarosa figure in spades, as he explains how he makes it all look so easy while making a run at being skating’s most divisive figure of 2010 — a tall order against the likes of Jereme Rogers, Brian Wenning, Antwuan Dixon and Shane O’Neill.
But do our times call for a Forrest Edwards? Following a decade marked by the rise of the Tilt Mode, Daewon Song’s goofy genius, assorted Jackassery and the Odd Couple stylings of Rob and Big, might Forrest Edwards’ unshakeable discontent be an antidote for too much fun? Dead-eyed and silent, Forrest Edwards seems to look upon a skateboard as a tool useful for proving his worth Mark Whiteley, his OIAM rivals and the world in general, comfortable with the sexual orientation of his go-to tricks and equally at ease when doling out quotables or bigspin-flipping stairs. Our nation’s economic house of credit cards in shambles and the prospect of a long economic slog ahead, Forrest Edwards’ single-minded fixation upon the prize serves to remind us that none of this is a game, that he is not playing around, even when brazenly choosing not to skate at any given time and instead offer advice on personal conduct or a balanced diet.