Old Age Ain't for Sissys
by dustin sturges
"Old age ain't for sissies." My father has been telling me this for years. I didn't really care one way or another because it didn't really apply to me-until now. I have led a fairly high-impact lifestyle so far. I am able to do almost anything, and what I can't do, I can learn. Up until now, I could take my licks with the best of them and come back for more. This is changing.
When I was thirteen, I had been skateboarding for longer than I had been walking. I would leave in the morning and I wouldn't return until dark. I would just ride all day. And from this, I was very capable on a skateboard.
Last week, I was invited to go to the new City Skateboard Park with a few of my friends. I thought, "This could be fun." The concept that maybe I was too old for that sort of thing never crossed my mind.
I flailed around on the ground obstacles for a little while, but quickly became bored and decided to drop into the mini ramp. I stood on top of the ramp looking down and hoping that I remembered how to drop in (it's not as easy as it looks). As it turns out, I did.
Before I knew it, I was whizzing past the box thing in the middle of the park and heading for the ramp at the other end. As I was nearing the ramp, I noticed the slight form of one of the little twelve-year-old "grommets" dropping in off the ramp that I was aiming for. It surprised me that I noticed him without him noticing me-he was half my size. Anyway, he came screaming down the ramp, and after much squealing of wheels and flying skateboards, we came to rest in our respective heaps on the pavement. To my surprise, a few of the other grommets came over to me and asked if I was all right. I guess that they'd seen this before-some stupid twenty-something thinking that he could do, without trouble, something that came so easy when he was their age. I appreciated the concern. The kid that I had collided with was all right; the collision was just part of the game, so everyone resumed skating-everyone except me. I sat down on the bench next to my wife who had gotten the whole thing on videotape. She was almost in tears laughing at me while I tried to roll a cigarette. I found then that my wrist was either broken or badly bruised. Either way, it was on my mind the next morning when I couldn't wipe my ass with my right hand, so I decided to write about it.
I know that I'm new to this whole old age thing. I am becoming aware that there is an entirely new set of rules that I need to abide by. Evidently, the ability to ignore one's age and perform at the same level for one's entire life is unique to Europeans. I grew up watching people like Stein Erickson and Rolf Sanberg, who seemed to just get faster, more skilled, and better looking with age (an admirable trait that causes endless aggravation for my father).
I watch my friends who are slightly older than me try to cope with the initiation to old age. They have come up with interesting solutions. Receding hair line? No problem-shave your head, grow a goatee and go for the borderline respectable mob/enforcer look. Although it confuses the kids a little, start introducing them as your little siblings. Take up sports that you can create an air of mystery in. Surfing is a good one. "I've watched that guy out there for ten years just sitting, waiting for the perfect wave. I'll bet he rips." I don't know. In reality, I probably don't have to start using these solutions for a while. It just never hurts to be prepared. Any more ideas can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your feedback. My dad can put these right to use.