Ozzie Ausband

Circling the Drain


Skateboarders. We must be masochistic. Destroyed. I –like others of my kind– learn through pain. I feel broken. When I climb out of bed in the morning, my joints crack and  I sound like some strange anatomical popcorn popper. I have used up more ice taking care of my injuries than I have ever used drinking glasses of whiskey. My liver tells me that I’ve consumed about half the whiskey in Ireland so…  I only heal so I can hurt again. It’s the game we play. While the world has their noses buried in TV, computer and cell phone screens, living their lives visually through others, skaters live our lives viscerally. We participate. Often such participation is at our own peril. In the eyes of the world, we always play the wrong card.  The idea of sitting on a couch in front of a TV idly thumbing the remote, fills me with a self-loathing not easily transferred into language. People watch and believe the lies the TV continues telling us. “Only money will make you happy.” ” Only money will make you happy.” Reprehensible. People  buy the same tired things in the same boring fashion. Toe the line. Appear important. Go broke, appearing rich.

Skateboarders reject such nonsense out of hand. Krishnamurti wrote, “The greater the outward show, the greater the inward poverty.”  I would have to agree. We walk our own path. Skaters have found the anti-authoritarian ideal that pervades skateboarding and the lawlessness of it, a warm embrace in a cold distant society.   We continually battle with fear and ourselves. Society shuns us unless they are prostituting us for monetary gain or ‘core’ credentials… It’s enough to make one sick. I battle with advancing age and physical decline. Injuries and societal norms have forced me deeper underground. I no longer try and explain myself. I am persona non grata in polite circles. I ride that useless wooden toy. I can’t imagine my life without a skateboard. I wouldn’t know how to live. No drug, booze, sex or respectable endeavor has ever fulfilled me the way skateboarding has. It is lawless and unconventional. Anarchist.  I went into the military and served my country with honor, went to college, earned a degree, received a few letters after my name and gained the coveted ‘respectability’, yet remained empty…  unless I skated. It is the one true gift of my existence and — in the eyes of the world–  has sent my life straight down the drain. Until the distant shuddering stars burn out and all of the buildings crumble into the earth… I won’t change a thing.- Ozzie