As A Service To Readers We Are Not Employing Any ‘Kid’-Themed Puns In The Subject Line For This Post About Jason Adams Confronting Some Weighty Grown-Up Issues, Even Though We Could Have Without Thinking About It Real Hard

There are truths in this world that prove themselves out over the course of time: kids grow up, things fall apart, sponsored tweens will land the 900 on a skatecamp vert ramp and graduate to a lucrative soft drink endorsement deal. Perennial kid Jason Adams underscores that first one recently in a sprawling, sometimes dark interview with Paradigm Magazine, in which he paints the rather bleak picture of confronting adult responsibilities as a kind of misfit toy set adrift from the island of misfit toys, partly thanks to the global economic collapse and also some general frustration with the cliquish nature of the skate biz.

He also, towards the end, gets around to challenging one of the most-flogged cliches to grace a TWS Pro Spotlight (or equivalent) — that old chestnut, “skateboarding saved my life.” There’s some hardscrabble substance black-hole stories where you’re inclined to take this as literally true, but there’s far more instances where you read a line like that and wonder well, would Skater X really have wound up in a burial plot had that Variflex not come into his life at just the right time, or would he instead have found a BMX bike, Magic the Gathering, a book on ventriloquism, gone off to pursue a liberal arts education at a public state university, gradually left off skating after moving off to land an entry-level job and secure a domestic lifestyle, etc.

In this interview, Jason Adams puts a pessimistic spin on the old phrase, wondering whether that lifelong muse, creative outlet and source of personal fulfillment may have left him with a body full of aches and a limited means with which to support his family, as the industry looks to cull pro ranks and veterans are expected to continue jumping through various hoops.

There are times I would have said skateboarding, or punk rock saved my life. To be honest, now I wonder if it saved my life, or ruined my life. It’s an inspiring thing and I think people make it out to be bigger than it was, but it’s no different than good art or good writing. If you think of it as a social clique, I would never jive with it, just like I didn’t jive with a lot of skaters all of the time. You can look at it two ways. It can be this beautiful inspiring thing that gives you hope. Or these things can be distractions, and that’s the negative way to look at it. I’m going back to life is shit … We need distractions. Is it a distraction, or a beautiful inspiring thing? To me it’s an inspiring thing, and it’s different to every person; it could be like their religion. It’s our religion basically and we can take it as seriously, or as lightly as we want to. It’s really dramatic to say it’s saving your life, or it could save your life. There’s a lot in that statement.

Jason Adams doesn’t come off as bitter in this interview, more circumspect and defiant and maybe tired. He talks about approaching life on his own terms and some consequences once you come out the other side a grown-up with heavy responsibilities. Another old skate-interview cliche he doesn’t challenge though is the one about the soul-crushing office job being just maybe slightly better than being boiled alive in hot lead, in spite of any fiscal antidotes to money problems, etc.

I remember being a kid watching my dad go to work and thinking, no fucking way dude, he’s a miserable man, I can tell. I’ll never be my father, I’ll never do that, I can’t do it.’ Sometimes I question whether it’s hurt me to go so against it. Maybe I should have just sucked it up. I’ll admit at my weak moments I do think that, but that’s just because I’ll be stressed. I’ll look at my kids and think they deserve better, but what does a bigger house mean? Everyone has weak moments; it’s whether you give into them.

Whenever I read the “rather die than work in an office” I used to think it was a bit rich for a pro skater to say, since they enjoy the talent to have the option, whereas the rest of us don’t have that luxury. It carries a little more weight when Jason Adams reiterates the point in this interview, though, since the way he describes it now his choices are more limited and his need to put food on the table a lot more real. His comments regarding disillusionment with the functions of the industry makes you wonder, though. Is working a white-collar job really the living hell it is sometimes described as? What are the most viable paths for transitioning out of the pro ranks as the autumn years approach? Should Jason Adams’ boards on Elephant also bear the nickname “the Adult”?

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12 Responses to “As A Service To Readers We Are Not Employing Any ‘Kid’-Themed Puns In The Subject Line For This Post About Jason Adams Confronting Some Weighty Grown-Up Issues, Even Though We Could Have Without Thinking About It Real Hard”

  1. OaklandPete Says:

    If The Kid didn’t have any kids, a lot of the financial problems and stresses wouldn’t be so pronounced. It seems that adulthood really begins with the decision (or lack or prevention) to have children. Suddenly, it isn’t about whether “Do I deserve a big house?”, it’s “Do my kids deserve a big house?”

  2. Joel Says:

    This was a certainly a worthwhile subject to approach, considering there are a great deal of us probably thinking the same thing, especially outside of the “paid to skate” rankings. Having spent the last day recovering from a Father’s Day of skating while everything still needs to be done and work isn’t going to wait for me to feel better, I’ll give it to him for at least addressing the subject realistically. Good writing.

  3. kay Says:

    While I shared the same sentiments as Adams about my dad in my youth, it turns out my dad wasn’t miserable at all. I was judging his moods from the perspective of a much younger, idealistic and care free teenager. Of course he’s going to look miserable compared to my frame of mind at the time. I wonder if Adams has thought about his own biases? Perhaps his dad wasn’t that miserable?

    For a select few, skateboarding prolongs the care free life and holds off responsibilities past it’s natural expiry date.

    A white collar job is a huge step up from a blue collar job. Ask any immigrant parent what their wish is for their child.

    I’d hate to be in the position of a 30-something pro who didn’t plan for their next gig after skating.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    As a person who works at a white collar job and continues to skateboard on a regular basis, at age 34, I would say that I am very happy. Health care, 4 weeks paid vacation, and plenty of time to skate, after 5pm.

  5. Says:

    As a person who works at a white collar job and continues to skateboard on a regular basis, at age 34, I would say that I am very happy. Health care, 4 weeks paid vacation, and plenty of time to skate, after 5pm.

  6. REID Says:

    Kind of reminds me of the Ricky Oyola Epicly Laterd. Really makes you respect the guys like John Rattray and Walker Ryan who continued on with there academic interests while being talented, sponsored skateboarders. Just like other pro “athletes”(Sprewell ), Pro skaters need to realize the gravy train doesn’t last forever

    • art hellman Says:

      agreed. you can pretend to be so against the 9-5 and education and whatnot, but then don’t be bitter when in the end you’re not Mick Jagger, shaking your hips for a living at 85.

      also makes you respect the pros that simply walked off into the background of the industry or silently walked off to do other things with their lives instead of being dragged kicking and screaming back to the land of the “normal”

      The whole fallback of “disillusionment with the industry” becomes harder to swallow with the older pros…they know how it works and what needs to be done to stay relevant (i.e. shaking hands, burying old grudges, smiling in lifestyle ads, etc.). It is an industry. Industries sell goods. Adams used to have a marketable “persona” with his style and trick selection (i.e. in the 90s, you wouldn’t see a red curb dancer do a wallie boardslide tailgrab), but now with it being acceptable to do just about any trick in the book at any time on any team, it is now more about pure luck, who you know, and handshakes then what tricks or supposed “attitude” you bring to a team.

  7. thecarbonite Says:

    skate-interview cliche analysis on point

  8. m477 Says:

    Skateboarding ruined my life

  9. Says:

    It’s always odd to me how desperately some people will fight to avoid the dreaded “office” job. They’ll go broke, stress, demean themselves in countless ways, in order to do it “their own way,” Jason COULD just do what everyone else does who skates & doesn’t get paid for it: get some “money job” you don’t love that pays the bills & leaves you time to do your art, skate, etc. I suspect in the end this is what he’ll do, & he may find that to be a lot more satisfying than “grinding” away, trying to avoid “The Trap.” It might not be as much of a trap as he thinks it is – it might actually be FREEDOM.

  10. dhad Says:

    I like my office job, but the sustainable way to do it is to study and work hard at a lucrative field where you can be your own boss – for example, computer programming or electrical engineering. The ideal is to find a job that pays so well you can work fewer than 20 hours per week – say, maybe dentistry. Most skateboarders have it ass backwards: I plan to go pro, but my backup is art school, so I should be set.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I dunno, different folks have different tolerances. If keeping Jason Adams out of an office is keeping him off a wooden stool with a rope around his neck, then that’s what’s good. I know from experience that more than a few months as a cashier (for example) and I’ll go crazy, but give me some real physical labor or constant mental strain (as opposed to boredom and false niceties) and it can occupy me for considerably longer. Either way I’ll try to find the time to go skating. In fact, fuck this computer bullshit, I’ma go rollin’.

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