Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Skateboarding Industry: A Therapy Session

As skateboarding has become more and more popular over the last 10 years or so, many companies have thought about ways to cash in on it. The unhealthy sugar water industry sent in it's representatives from Mountain Dew, Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar a few years ago. What's been getting talked about more lately, though, has been the success of large shoe companies. Nike paved the way, Adidas followed, and now it appears New Balance is trying to do the same with some help from Jamie Thomas over at Black Box.

The bottom line is that the skateboarding industry has been undergoing some changes, and some people aren't happy about it. Those people got concerned and decided to make an appointment with a psychiatrist,  so that the skateboarding industry could talk out some of these issues. The following is a transcription of that appointment (The Skateboarding Industry will be abbreviated 'TSI'):

Dr. Lamenski waits patiently, alone in his office. He checks his watch one last time- the session was supposed to start 7 minutes ago.
The door opens. The skateboarding industry walks in, wearing only the finest that the mall had to offer. His hat still has tags on it, his 200 dollar watch is made of plastic, and shoes look brand new.

TSI: Sorry I'm late Dr. Lamenski, did you get that call from my assistant?

Lamenski: That's ok, but no, I did not receive a call.

TSI: Yea, between you and me I think that guy's been smoking a little too much weed lately, he probably forgot. I think I'll fire him soon.

Lamenski: Your assistant smokes weed on the job? And you still pay him?

TSI: Well, he's not really on payroll, he's just a guy that I skated with once. He's flow trash though, so I give him boards in return for doing me favors.

Lamenski: I see. Well I must say, I'm a little surprised. When I met with you back in the early 90's, you were sent here because you were a bit of a troublemaker. Now you're here because your friends say you aren't what you used to be.

A smile flashes across TSI's face.

TSI: Yeah, those were good times...

 The smile disappears.

TSI: But things are much better now. Skateboarding is as popular as ever, and I've been able to provide a decent living for tons of top pros. Plus the products are getting better each day. It's all good. It's nice not having to struggle any more. It reminds me of how things were for a brief time back in the 80's, except even better. Believe that!

TSI forces a nervous chuckle.

Lamenski: That must make you very happy. How are your friends doing? The skateboarders.

TSI: Huh? Oh, I'm not sure, we haven't really spoken in a while. I assume they're doing well though. I've been putting out more contests and footage for them lately, and like I said, the products are higher quality. Not to mention that more skate parks are being built. More of what they said they wanted.

Lamenski: But if they're happy with you, why were you sent here by them?

TSI: Oh, they're probably just upset that the Plan B video still hasn't come out yet. Those vultures are so impatient these days!

Lamenski: Well that's true, but I think we need to get more to the core of the issue. I've been reading what they have to say about you. A lot of them are upset that they never get to talk to you any more. Granted, most of them took a bitter tone while making a whiny argument about how evil corporations are. Those arguments were pretty incoherent, but they said I just didn't understand because I'm a 'suit like the rest of them'. But a lot of them said that if they couldn't consistently crank out technical tricks or handle giant handrails, you simply wouldn't talk to them. Is that true?

TSI: Well why would I care about someone who wasn't good at skateboarding these days? They don't impress crowds. I have to get asses in seats at contests. I have shoes to sell. I don't have time for their skipping around in the streets. Either their tricks meet the standards or they need another gimmick, like 'fastest' or 'legend' or 'artistic freestyler' or 'popular musician'. Otherwise I can't justify putting out free videos- every video needs to get some attention! You know?!

TSI begins to sweat. His voice is getting progressively louder. He gets a panicked look in his eye.

TSI: How am I supposed to buy cars for all of these 18 year olds AND be able to pay the guy on the team that 'just has really good style'? Having a good personality and coming out with a good video part every 4 years doesn't cut it! Do you hear me?! It doesn't cut it! They're always asking for more footage! No matter who turns pro, someone else 'deserved it' more. Do you understand? Older pros are literally falling apart-my old friends are breaking bones and getting surgeries and can't skate for months at a time while some kid in Kansas is getting famous on Youtube for doing something called a blizzard flip. And I'm supposed to give some random kid free boards while paying for some other guy's knee surgery each week. And if I don't, everyone turns their back on me!

TSI stops for a moment to breathe heavily as a single tear drops from his eyes. Dr. Lamenski is shocked, and tries to collect his thoughts. Lamenski opens his mouth up to speak, but then a ringtone breaks the silence. TSI takes his phone out of his pocket, at which point his 'Odd Future' ringtone becomes audibly clear. He answers the phone.

TSI: Hello?... Yeah... I'll be there soon, let me just... Ok. Bye.

TSI puts his phone back in his pocket.

TSI: We'll have to continue this next week. I have to make a deal with a sporting goods store.

TSI runs out of the office and slams the door shut.

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