Michael J. Mooney of the Dallas Morning News has unearthed a maturity-challenged new subculture (at least new to me): grown men in the 40s and 50s who will do anything to … skateboard.
Often ducking the police, these middle-aged thrashers jump the fences of closed motels to sip beer and grind their boards across the empty pools. They trespass into back yards. They swarm local skate parks, speeding past kids half their age.
They also own their own businesses. They have families and mortgages and disposable incomes.
"I vote Republican," said Stubbs, [one of the skateboarders] who lives in Dallas.
See? The so-called Daddy party is prey to death-of-the-grown-up syndrome, too.
"There is something about being out there, that feeling of freedom." says Stubbs. "Even if you wanted to give it up, you couldn't."
Well, what mental 12-year-old could? Of course, these grown men have tools and know-how at their disposal no chronological 12-year has.
[Stubbs’] favorite tool is Google Earth. He can scan a satellite view of neighborhoods around his house for dirty pools. When he finds one on the map, he calls his buddies.
"I wear my slacks and nice shirt, and sometimes I carry a clipboard," Stubbs said. "I even have a sign for my car that says we are a pool cleaning company."
He explains to the owner of the dirty pool that he and his friends have a pump and can clean their pool, free of charge. All he asks in return is a few hours to skateboard in the clean pool. He even brings liability release forms he's had his lawyers draw up.
That’s, um, mature of him. Of course, boarding oldsters have more on their minds that impersonating swimming pool cleaners; indeed, they are not impervious to honest-to-goodness intimations of mortality.
As he shows off his longer, "surf-style" board to kids in Irving, Stubbs is pensive. He knows he can't skate forever. He discusses the legacy he and his friends want to leave for young skateboarders in Texas.
He has approached Dallas officials, asking for a public concrete skate park. The skaters want "Texas-size" parks that can't be disassembled or bulldozed.
"We want huge monoliths to leave for the future of skateboarding," Stubbs said. "We don't want something someone can destroy the next time skating isn't popular. We're now taxpaying citizens and have a bigger voice. We're ready to parlay that clout into a voice at City Hall."
Huge monoliths for the future of skateboarding? That's democracy in action for you, perpetual adolescent-style.