When I was about 10 years old, I had a Bart Simpson* skateboard, care of the JCPenney wish book catalogue. It had gritty blacktop where your feet were supposed to go and a technicolor Bart head on both sides of the board. I used to lay on my stomach and ride down the hill that started at the sidewalk in front of our duplex (there's a scar on my left wrist from a botched attempt). I also spent hours in the driveway trying my best to perform the elusive ollie. My inability to perform this trick solidified my standing in the world of skateboarders: expert stomach rider/extreme novice on 2 feet.
This weekend I resurrected my Marty McFly costume for a Halloween party at my brother's house. Costumes are all about iconic props, so I borrowed a skateboard from one of charrow's co-workers. The day after the party, I noodled around on the skateboard on my mom's deserted suburban street. It started innocently enough. I rode down the sloped driveway and made wide, misshapen circles across the width of the street. But then, as I made a loop near the crest of a hill, I decided that it would be fun to coast down that hill. It didn't look that steep, and it ended at the grassy bank of an empty lot. About 15 seconds later, I seriously regretted my decision. The pavement got bumpier. The scattered gravel from the neighboring construction sites became thicker. And my speed suddenly surpassed my rudimentary stopping capabilities.
Faced with the prospect of hitting a chunk of gravel that would probably bring the board to a dead stop (and send me flying), I decided to take control of my battered fate and jump off the board. You know those moving walkways in airports? You know how even that moderate amount of extra speed makes it hard to transition onto stationary ground? Right. So I made it about 4 clamoring steps before my feet went out of from under me, and I did a belly flop/home run slide into the cul-de-sac.
End result: a torn running shirt, scuffed hands, a bloody patchwork on my left elbow, potentially bruised ribs, a bit of road rash on my left hip, and an anxious mother.
Lessons learned: elbows and ribs should not be used as brakes, and more importantly, do not ride down a hill without first having a Contingency Plan.
I am officially retired from all non-stomach riding skateboard activities. Cowabunga dudes.
*the irony of owning a Bart Simpson skateboard: I never, ever get Simpson quotes when they come up in conversation.