|Photo by Hananiah Aldrich|
Saturday, May 02, 2015
There are a lot of folk out there in my little community of Powell, Wyoming that think I dislike everything about this town, its college (Northwest College) and even the state of Wyoming. So, I’m here to declare that, “It just ain’t so (in a Wyoming accent).” I’m critical of many things that I care about, but in this day and age of thin-skinned Pollyannas, anyone who is critical about something is immediately painted as a hater or Debbie-downer.
To be honest though, there are things that go beyond my critique and thus deserve my disdain—those same Pollyannas come to mind.
Here’s what I’m talking about: I’m critical of our Wyoming culture that seems to reward and reinforce overly macho behavior. I’d like to see that toned down a bit in the near future. Besides, it’s sooooo cliché. What I dislike are those assclowns who adopt and embrace this trumped-up virile behavior—in particular those who feel the need to modify the exhaust systems of their gigantic 4x4, quad-cab diesel-powered pickup trucks while incessantly revving their engines everywhere they go. I can’t think of a better illustration of a textbook douchebag.
Contrary to all of this, I served as a drag contest judge the other night on the campus of Northwest College. It was absolutely fun, entertaining and delightful—and as I was sitting there watching men (and women) compete for the best drag contestant on campus, I thought to myself, “You know what this town needs are a few more drag queens and kings and a lot less knuckle-dragging, macho-oozing, look-at-me-because-I-drive-a-loud-diesel-pickup-truck douchebags.”
Perhaps this sentiment has to do with a little incident I had the other day when I flagged down one of these John Wayne, chest-beaters (a.k.a., assclown) as he was doing about 45 mph through the middle of campus and about to run a stop sign. When he hit his breaks and rolled down his window in bewilderment, I calmly said, “Hey man, it’s 25 mph through campus and that’s a stop sign you just went through.” In so many words he retorted that I don’t tell him what to do and after a few more exchanges the dude started to get out of his 4x4 to duke it out with me. I mean honestly, I can’t think of a better example of testosterone-induced rage. You’re breaking the law and endangering the public, someone calls you out on it and you want to fight them… what the fuck, man?!
I’m not sure if I could have whipped him, but if it had come to that, and I ended up having the upper hand, I would have trashed his 4x4 Silverado too. I suppose if it went the other way, he probably would have done the same to my longboard.
With these thoughts in mind, I’d like to make a challenge to our little community of Powell… How about we all start calling out these hotheads in their rude and self-centered behavior when they are breaking the law, endangering others or simply being disrespectful of peace and quiet. This used to be a quiet little town, but in the past five years, it has transformed into a noisy and belligerent little town. And while we’re at it, let’s see if we can encourage enough students to enter the drag contest next year—perhaps even double its participants.
Let’s bring down the machoism a notch and lift up the drag. It’ll be good for Powell.
Friday, February 13, 2015
Growing up in Akron, Ohio, it’s possible that I was the first kid with a skateboard—and if I wasn’t, certainly one of the first. My board came to me by way of California following a holiday out West in the mid-1960s. I have a hunch that few of today’s more youthful riders have ever seen a skateboard like my first one—with it’s short, narrow wooden deck, and steel wheels. Perhaps it was a sign of my fate, but even as a youngster, I learned how to slide the wheels on our smooth, sloped concrete driveway that dumped onto the rough chip-seal of Stevenson Avenue.
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For the next several years, I pushed the G&S pinner around my flat, little town of Powell, located in the high desert country of Wyoming, but unlike a true enthusiast, I never entertained the idea of taking it further.
Despite the flack directed at Original (a longboard maker) from the longboarding community (and I'm not sure why this is either), I’ll confess here that it was an Original video on YouTube that blindsided me one day and made me start thinking about that old G&S in a new light.
Polecat Bench is a hybrid of mesa and plateau dominating the Powell horizon from the north to the northwest direction—rising 500-feet above the town. The “Bench” (as we call it) is the closest recreational destination for the locals—whether it’s riding an ATV or mountain bike, arrowhead or bird hunting, or just a place to look over the land in quiet solitude. It is also home to the community airport and a gas refinery beyond the airport. Connecting these operations with the community is State Route 295 (also known as “Road 9”) which includes about 1.5 miles of sloped asphalt that climbs the Bench at a five-percent grade. For the most part, there is very little traffic on this road-to-nowhere except for an occasional truck hauling crude or refined petroleum product along with the pickup trucks of those few who work at the refinery. The highway is absolutely deserted on Sunday mornings, and even when there is an occasional car or truck, you can see it coming with ample time to get out of the way.
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Living in the country’s least populated state, people are pretty spread out. No matter who you are, what your interest or profession might be, there’s always an element of isolation and with it comes a lack of feedback from others like you. This is certainly my situation as an over-the-hill downhill longboard rider. Late this summer I met a college student who has ridden the hill and he has a few other friends that are curious about longboarding as well. It will be interesting to see if we ever evolve into a micro-community.
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