Lift Up Your Weary Head!
By Andreas Trolf
What is it about us that is drawn to broken, used things? Is it something broken inside ourselves that needs like? Is it guilt? Penance and flagellation?
Lift up your weary head. Let your heart be filled. We are all tired and true of heart (to paraphrase) and everything is forgivable.
We went out for drinks at Casanovas where a man was dancing by himself. We pointed at him and laughed at his expense, which he took as a sign that he needed to introduce himself. Within minutes he grabbed at Nicole's boobs. Emma was shocked.
I think he was more into Tim though. In a slurred lisp he asked Tim if he believed in destiny.
I somehow caught a bumblebee in my kitchen.
I put it in a Tupperware container and tried to put the little guy into suspended animation in my freezer. I wanted to do that thing where you tie a length of thread around the stunned/frozen bee and then when he thaws out youve got a bee on a leash. Doesnt it look like my Chuck Close shirt is watching the action unfold? Isnt this exciting?
Unfortunately, I left him in the freezer for too long and he died. I tried to resuscitate the bee by breathing warm air onto him to aid in the thawing out process, but it was no use. Id killed him. And for what? For nothing. Such is the fragility of life.
I tried to stay sad after the frozen bee incident, but I couldnt. Instead I sat in a hot tub along with these naked fellows. Yes, I was naked as well. Is it wrong that it felt right? And though Ive already been chastised for it, Ill state again that this photo documents the last time I was truly happy. Dont judge me.
You know how sometimes when life isnt going your way the only thing you can really do is just get the fuck out of town for a few days and drink lots of booze in the desert. Or is it just that way for me? In any event, we took a Lowcardtrip to Arizona to coincide with the Phoenix Am contest.
I got in a rented van with Collinson, Gordon, Toad, and both Jonahs and hoped that a few days of aimless wandering would allow me to get my life back together. Our first stop was Chino, home to Backstabberskateboards. Kyle, Backstabbers owner, has a ranch thats miles from anywhere, surrounded by cows and horses and the endless black night. Luckily, theres enough concrete in his driveway to adequately house a few banks and quarterpipes. I got hurt and spent the rest of the trip self-medicating in hopes of alleviating my emotional woes.
We left Chino late at night and drove into Arizona until no one could stay awake any longer. After sleeping for a few hours in a cramped motel we awoke to: blistering desert heat, expansive skies, and the highway, stretching out plumb-straight ahead of us. Long drives always put me in mind of narratives because they have this chronological unfolding; the horizon is always there just out of reach but you tend towards it regardless. Sorry about that, I tend towards the sentimental.
The first stop of the day was a huddle of shops butting against the highways shoulder. Wed been passing a bottle of bourbon around since breakfast and within minutes we were all wearing new tie-dyed spirit animal shirts. Except for Jonah Broome. He bought one of those patented t-skirts. You know the kind that urban teenagers wear? The kind that are 5XL and stretch past your knees? Exactly. That kind. And why did he buy it? Because we dared him to wear it for 24 hours straight. Well, thats not entirely true. We actually devised a bastardized Lowcard version of Thrashers King of the Road, and by wearing that ridiculous shirt Jonah earned himself a quick 50 points. I wont detail all the points-challenges we devised for the trip because I dont want us all to sound like horrible people, but suffice it to say that feelings were hurt on this trip. Lots of feelings.
Heres Jonah Dolese in one of the roadside shops. You know that thing where you take a photo of someone but youre really taking a photo of someone else whos next to them? Thats this. What is it with that dudes shirt anyways? Why the fuck does everything have to rule? Fuck that. Old guys rule? When Im 90 fucking years old and using a walker to get around a shop that sells Wrestlemania shirts, I hope Ill have slightly more dignity than this. Everything in our culture is so self-positive and self-affirming that nothing is allowed to just be anymore. Everything has to be radical and ruling! Im sure that somewhere out there someone afflicted with diabetes has a bumper sticker that says, Insulin shots fucking rule! Diabetes is absolutely awesome! or someone with a wooden leg has a trucker hat that says, Its an amputee thing. You wouldnt understand. I think it all started with those girls kick ass shirts in the 1990s. Suddenly everybody has to assert their unique identity and rule or be badass or whatever. Thats fucking gay. Not everything rules. Shit, not even most things rule. Actually, nothing rules. Everything is lame, so lets just accept it and move on.
Wait, I was wrong. These dolls rule.
There was an RV park out back.
Have you ever tried skating during the day in Arizona? I would rather have chlamydia than have to do that every day. It wasnt even summer yet and already we were dying of heat exhaustion. Lee Bender came to hang out with us. Lee is one of the few people in the world I give an unequivocal thumbs up. Dont Lee and Toad look handsome in their Thrasher shirts? (Toad also gets the thumbs up.)
Rob Welsh gets a big thumbs up, too. He lives in Phoenix now and we stayed at his house while we were in town. See how much he misses San Francisco? He still wears a 415 hat. He here is with one of those youngsters that lives only to place himself in mortal peril by jumping down giant sets of stairs. I predict big things for Gravette.
Heres Toad earning himself 10 points the easy way: smashing a beer via a lein to tail. He also earned 100 points the hard way, but Im not going to detail that in such a public forum. Toad is a true champion of life.
This may be one of my favorite photographs Ive ever taken. Jonah carries this knife with him wherever he goes and has no squabbles about pulling it out. Thats what I like about him. Other people might do a lot of talking, but Jonah's out there getting shit done!
This is Robs garage. Cant you just smell the aromas of marinating dudes? Imagine a van full of sweaty, drunken skateboarders camped out in your house. Isnt life grand?
We entertained ourselves with a flashlight and long exposures. Rob made a face. I made a fecal face. Remember what I wrote earlier about nothing ruling? How true.
The next day Justin Strubing flew in from the Tampa pro contest to meet up with us. Both he and I were in full emotional meltdown mode for the majority of the trip. It was awesome! Justin is one of my favorite people to travel with.
In the morning we found a stray dog in front of the house. Rob jumped on his bike without even bothering to put on pants.
Theres Justin lying on the sidewalk. Then a funny thing happened: the wind picked up and pregnant clouds appeared, darkening the huge desert sky. And it rained. It quickly became one of those rare torrential desert rains where the first drops hit the ground heavily, kicking up a ring of dust, and you can almost feel the report in the soles of your feet.
We wasted part of the day thrift shopping while trying to find a place to skate. These outfits from the Salvation Army cost a total of $8.
Finally we drove an hour through traffic to Cowtowns indoor miniramp. The session was packed to overflowing from all the hot-crew amateurs in town for the contest. John Alden was there and he joined our spirit animal t-shirt gang.
At this point I should mention the worst game ever invented. I blame Gordon for introducing it. The rules are simple: if you are able to form a ring with your fingers and place it on someones elbow for a five count without them noticing, that person has to lie down on the ground, on the spot, for 20 seconds. It doesnt matter where you are or what you might have to lie in. I fucking hate this game, but such are the rules of the road: you abide by majority decision. Heres Gordo hating the monster hes created.
I have a question for you guys: whats worse than a van full of sweaty, drunken skateboarders darkening your door and bumming everyone out? A van full of sweaty, drunken skateboarders going to a shitty karaoke bar in Tempe, Arizona.
Although hes usually shy around karaoke, Rob decided that he was going to serenade us. He got the crowd worked up with a spirited rendition of White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. It was truly awful and somehow he ended up with an entire pint of Guinness poured on him.
Then another pint was poured onto the pool table. Then the bartender threatened Jonah. Then Rob had to go and hide in the bushes out back because it was rumored that someone wanted to beat him up.
For a moment the situation turned real ugly and I was left wondering how things had so quickly deteriorated. But I decided that this was simply part of our ongoing process of trying to hit rock bottom. And isnt that what this kind of desert adventure is really about? We were going down in flames, and it was spectacular. We were getting closer and closer to the bottom with each passing minute, and I loved it.
How much can you really know about yourself if youve never been drunk and stranded in a strange city? So drunk youre yelling at your friends to just leave you the fuck alone, that youre fine just sitting on this bus stop bench, that they should just go ahead without you. Thats the true measure of a man!
Joe Hammeke, I should note, is the only real reason why we didnt truly hit rock bottom. He made us go skateboarding and have fun. Screw you, Hammeke!
But despite Hammekes best efforts, we tried diligently to be the most miserable human beings alive. And it was all worthwhile. You might look at the above photo of Jonah pissing on the bar and see a shitbag, but I look at that photo and I see a true champion earning yet another 100 points!
The next morning we went skateboarding and Lee took us to this trailer park on the outskirts of Phoenix. The trailers were set into these weird stepped terraces and as ersatz lawns there were giant, rough banks of green concrete. The hours that followed are all a blur and really it wouldnt make for flattering commentary if I attempted to recall what happened. But really, you guys should be able to fill in the blanks by now. Early the next morning Justin and I got on an aeroplane and woke up back in San Francisco. I vomited in the lavatory.
My friends Mike and Malina got married. I was the guy who showed up at the reception with a black eye.
Then I flew to New York because Im great at running away from my problems. My brother Alexis picked me up at JFK at 7am and we ate bagels.
Alexis is a chef. He also has powerful hair and a striking mustache. These things run in our family. Well, not the chef part.
I decided to finally bring more of my things out to San Francisco so I went to our storage locker and liberated my accordion. This is the accordion in its case near the urinals in JFK, a scant 26 hours after Id arrived.
And if you didnt believe me, heres a photo of me with my accordion. I also own a giant Soviet military overcoat. Im not sure why. Like many things, Im sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. All my ideas are genius late at night. Just last night, for example, I decided to drink a bottle of Robitussin. At 2am. When I woke up this morning, feeling none too shabby as I stared at my ceiling, I went to stand up and promptly fell face first onto the floor. It was excellent. But Im stubborn and I stand by my decisions and I will never admit to being wrong. Ever.
You may have already seen some photographic evidence of the Silly Pink Bunnies convention on Rick Marrs blog, but I promise you that we both have a novel perspective on every subject we deem worthy of covering. Rick, for instance, will never miss an opportunity to crack a bad joke or make a pun about vaginas, while I on the other hand simply take shabby photos and dont ever write anything funny. Ever. Which approach is better? You be the judge:
Im unable to crack wise about Caseys 90% virgin pin.
Its true. Work is for jerks.
This one, though, deserves a bit of commentary:
You may remember two out of three here from this. But dubious taxidermy techniques aside, what I need to address is Brooks Bon Jovi shirt. Seriously, Brook? Bon Jovi? How could you? I thought we had an understanding. With access to irony comes great responsibility. Just like Spiderman. And, yes, Ill admit that I can forgive you almost anything. Almost. But not this. There will be not one whit of forgiveness meted out. Bon Jovi? Yeah, okay, that one song that went aooo-aah-ahh aoo-aah-ahh was catchy for about fifteen minutes, but come the fuck on
This is like that time Alexis and his friends went to see Bon Jovi at Giant Stadium in New Jersey. Ha ha, fine, I thought, this ought to be good for a laugh. But then I discovered that theyd rented a white limousine and that they were going to New Jersey. Sans ironic intent. My smile vanished.
See what this shirt does to me, Brook? It depresses the shit out of me. And just when I was getting back on track
Moving on. The next day we had our annual Easter dinner. This time it was at Buca di Beppo. See? Im really getting my moneys worth on that thrift store outfit from Phoenix. Im sitting in quite the dude sandwich, arent I? Jeremiah, on my left, is nearly indestructible. Last Thanksgiving he was struck by a car traveling upwards of 60 miles an hour. He was thrown clear off the highway and was left a pulpy, bloody mess. But just a few short months later he managed to get to San Francisco just to meet up with us and run up a $4,000 dinner bill. Thats right: $4,000.
This is that stupid fucking game again. See how Im lying there on the floor of the mens room? Fuck you, Gordon!
While this pink bunny outfit might not seem out of place during convention weekend, I can assure you that Tammy looks plenty weird wearing it the rest of the year. Which she does.
All three of these rocket surgeons warrant copious abuse, but its Jason Tyler Graces mugging that is especially deserving of mention. Timmy, on the left, is just loud and stoked. Franklin, on the right, is once again oblivious. But Jason not only aped Daves tie headband, hes doing that thing that tough guys and rappers do in photos and in videos where they extend their arms and shrug as if to say, What? Fuck off. And hes also got a party-guy smirk on his face. I love you, Jason, seriously I do, but if I didnt know you and just saw this photo, Id probably want to walk up behind you and punch you in the back of the neck and run away.
The next day we all caravanned out to Greer Park in Palo Alto, which you may know as the Bay Areas foremost destination for old, drunk skateboarders. Here Dave and Gabe Friedman compare relative hairiness. Who won? It depends, as do most things, largely on established criteria: luxuriousness of body hair vs. skin to hair ratio; length vs. curl; interesting shapes? Criteria aside, though, I deem them both handsome as hell.
Then the Coach and El Vortex showed up. Gabe decided that it might be appropriate and comedically brilliant if he dressed in a trash diaper. Doesnt he look like that one Consolidated graphic where the doctor is saying to the mother, Congratulations! It's a man!Also, isnt Coachs cold sore impressive? I love that guy.
We even flew a kite. It was awesome.
Then it was Alicias birthday. There was a piñata. It seriously took almost 30 minutes to get it cracked open. It was also hung, for some reason, at the top of the stairs. Call me morbid, but I was totally waiting for someone to fall down the stairs as they scrambled for shitty candy.
Drunkenly, we decided on a mustache-growing contest. Three months of constant creepiness. Can you guess which of us four has already shaved his off? The winner gets a banjo. I predict that I will soon be the proud owner of a new banjo. Also, isnt Richards shiner impressive? We discussed the finer points of being punched in the face.
Then I found these twins at the park. Isnt it gay when couples dress alike? Just kidding. I made Ashley and Brian wear these shirts. And its totally not gay.
Then I felt myself well up and I was borne aloft. I flew high into the brightening morning sky, higher than the hills and up above the clouds. And it wasnt cold or scary or anything, I just kept rising slowly into the atmosphere. Pretty soon the roads turned into tiny lines and I could see the Earths curving. The air became thin and as I rose I felt the sun on my face. Then I could see the whole world, miniature far below me, and I wasnt worried any longer and I wasnt anxious or depressed, I was only filled with hope and wonder at all the things and people and moments. It was so beautiful.
Just kidding. Actually, I went to Memphis to interview this guy and break into William Faulkners house. Ill leave that for next week, though.
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