Posts Tagged ‘fraternity’

Odd Couple Therapy

November 14, 2015

tango-and-cash-grenade

Sun Tzu, the famous tactician for whom our shiny star and exotic animal exhibits now are named, defined total victory not as the end of any battle or campaign or war but rather when one’s opponent is paying hefty and recurring fees to operate a pancake franchise in his former territory, and comping the victor all premium toppings. This battleground truism rings as accurately now as it ever did in the comparatively topping-poor days of Mr Tzu, and in particular regarding the security guard, that grimacing, oft-charred coyote to skateboarding’s trim and turnt up roadrunner.

As skating’s profile has expanded and been deemed more lucrative by television channels, beverage conglomerates and concerned parents, the by-definition fraught and frosty security guard/skater dynamic has mutated its way through several forms and appendage assortments. Once squarely classified as paid haters indulging jock-minded power trips, the security guard has been alternately corrupted, co-opted and caricatured as the relationship’s balance of power has skidded and slid toward skateboarders, who today wield an an increasingly outsized cultural cudgel and cheap video recording equipments.

Travel back, if you would, to 2003, when skaterboarders in the employ of Emerica shoes took some of the early, halting steps toward sidelining security guards’ stature and dignity by filming the bribery of one in pursuit of jubble-set glory, the stairs’ blurry-faced would-be defender capitulating with the dangling of a $100 bill and a warbly ‘okay.’ That same year Rob Dyrdek did the concept one better, hiring his own security guard and cementing the dollar’s supremacy over the once hallowed security guard code. For a generation of stretch denim-purchasing yungsters the precedent was set; in subsequent Baker productions, Jim Greco would go on to good naturedly tussle with security guards and play at parlor-trick hypnosis for laughs, while elsewhere security went cheerfully ignored, or worse, reduced to asking politely.

Where does all this leave the rent-a-cop as 2015 staggers out? No longer threats and by now passe to debate, they seem to have been relegated to moving obstacles for those confident and daring enough to put a trick in their face, such as LRG nollie inward heelflip blaster Miles Silvas, or several, as the GX1000 consortium recently demonstrated in Japan. Ty Evans’ slo-mo drone ballet ‘We Are Blood’ positioned security as worthy if ineffectual water-fight opponents, while the prospect of fleeting Vine fame inspires some in the profession to abandon their fraternal code and defect.

Yet as security guards’ total defeat appears close at hand, one may ponder a certain pocket of emptiness in skating’s collective soul*, upon which a phantom finger may be hard to place. Bart Simpson, that 1990s skate standard-bearer and this decade a regular feature upon Justin Figuoera’s Ebay vintage apparel purchases, once complained of a similarly eerie malaise upon triumphing over his own authority dispenser, Principle Skinner:

BS: It’s weird, Lise. I miss having Skinner as a friend, but I miss him even more as an enemy.

LS: I think you need Skinner, Bart. Everybody needs a nemesis. Sherlock Holmes had his Dr. Moriarty, Mountain Dew has its Mellow Yellow, even Maggie has that baby with the one eyebrow.

Has skating, imbued with greater cultural clout and youthful impunity, at this point effectively shaved the one eyebrow of the world’s rent-a-cops? If Mello Yello were pulled from the marketplace, would Paul Rodriguez’s tricks bubble with the same sweet zest? Will skating and security guarding only truly set aside their differences and come to understand and respect one another after they are both framed in a drug deal gone bad and jailed among the many bloodthirsty criminals they helped put away, forced to rely upon their wits, brawn and one other to break free, clear their names and reclaim their badges?

*could also refer to gaps in peoples’ Collective Soul album collections

BDU Blues

May 6, 2012

When we locked eyes three-quarters of the way through the last part in TWS’s “Cinematographer” redux I think we both did a double-take — it wasn’t the sort of place I should have been surprised to see you, on the side of a decaying playground under an overcast sky, but it had been a while. For both of us — you, years ago embracing Adidas flip-flops, Honda CRVs and sweatshirts festooned with the Greek alphabet… me, delving deeper into the nightlife, growing thinner through the years, occasioning to recall our times together only now and then when I managed to chip the mountain in my closet down to the musty-smelling Shorty’s backpack and spent lighters and Magnum markers inside.

But I smiled then because enough time had passed since the bitterness of our parting — by then really we’d grown far enough apart that it was closer to a mutual apathy, already past the point of moving on. I have my tendency to overdo things and hold onto them long past the sell-by date, and we both could see you had other suitors. They may have been able to take you all sorts of places I never could or would, but there’s enough consolation for me in the knowledge that when we first crossed paths their sort wouldn’t have spared you a second glance, or become captured the way I was with you.

I was young then, or younger anyway, and so were you–just a few years younger than me, but more world-weary, given your strict, no-nonsense upbringing. I liked to think I’d seen as much of the world as you, even if it was different parts maybe, but we both knew there were questions about your background I didn’t care or bother to ask after. When we got together it seemed beside the point. Summertime was just getting going and you showed up, crisp, ready for whatever the day became, easygoing to the point we could spend days on end in one another’s company.

Did the familiarity get us? Did one of us take the other for granted, tiresome as it sounds? We lost the glow. The edge was off by the time I saw you gussied up with accessories you didn’t need and repping A-Team. Some days I caught myself looking and wondering if you’d lost the shape I used to love so much. It wasn’t only you though. There was a corridor of art shows, corduroy, European plazas, leather and reality television appearances opening, and the further down it I went, the more it seemed you belonged with the yellow t-shirts and compact discs filled with conscious hip-hop lyrics. So I didn’t begrudge you when I would see you in the mall, striding across college campuses, looking a just a little bit too weathered not to be a put-on — but by then I knew your tricks. Some of them I taught you, after all.

Let’s not fool one another. It was good to see you again, know that our paths continue to cross, that it doesn’t have to be forced. I don’t think either one of us expects things to go back to how they were, or wants them to. Those were some good years though — for both of us — and when you don’t see it coming, running into you again can make me feel almost the same as when we first got together.