|I was a wee boy (on the right) and so was my brother Adam|
When I was a wee boy I liked to slide on icy puddles. I knew the best places where water would sit in shallow depressions on the pavement, and on nippy mornings I'd groom the icy puddles, tamping down and smoothing a layer of frost with the soles of my shoes to improve the slidiness of the ice. I liked to learn different tricks, which were essentially stances in which I would slide. There was a head-on slide, a backwards slide, a side-on slide, and there was "the wee mannie" - a slide performed in a crouching position. When I did a slide I would say "wheee," which expressed the way I felt about it.
My obsession with skidding on ice progressed to the point where I snuck out the house with buckets of water one cold winter evening, and splashed these onto the pavement at the foot of the cul-de-sac we lived in, where a downhill footpath terminated in a small flight of 3 steps. This was a precursor to the self-absorption at the expense of personal and public safety that I would later indulge with skateboarding. The following morning I returned to skid along the ice and leap over the steps at its termination. Wheee! I knew it was hazardous, but I took the risk in favour of that wheee. I'm glad no-one was hurt.
|A Skuda Skateboard|
I would soon buy a plastic skateboard from a primary school jumble sale. It had the word 'SKUDA' embossed in its top, and a sticker that said 'The Shaggy D.A.' on the bottom. This soon came to replace icy puddles as the source of the wheees. I learned to ride the skateboard down the short length of our driveway, and then I learned some tricks. I also learned to internalise the wheee.