Sticker Shock

In an effort this morning, like many mornings, my son spent the last twenty minutes before school trying to convince me that there was no REAL reason for him to go. The conversation went something like this:

Do I have to go to school?

Yes . . . yes you do.

But I won't learn anything.

Yes . . . yes you will.

But I won't learn anything important.

At this point in your life, everything you learn is important.

But if I'm gonna work in a skateshop, why do I need to learn history?

Well [and I had to think about this] . . . cause learning history makes you a more interesting person.

So . . . like . . . I can tell someone that this particualr deck is from the 1800's?

Well, no, they didn't have skateboards in the 1800's.

So like I can tell someone that this board was ridden by Tony Hawk?

Sort of. But not really. However, if you're going to spend your life talking to people you should learn how to be an interesting person.


Cause sales are built on relationships. And people like to buy things from people who are interesting.


And that was pretty much that. I'm sure by tomorrow morning he will have found other reasons why school is not in his best interest, but it's a conversation he's gonna lose every time, and if I can't think of some esoteric reason for why the story of Mission San Miguel Arcangel then at least I have Californian Law to back me up.

Though in all honesty, and because he doesn't read this blog, I feel pretty comfortable admitting that the story of Mission San Miguel Arcangel is pretty lame.

Not that it is entirely void of intrigue, but there has to be more exciting stories about the subjugation of indigenous  people.

His book spends one paragraph on punishment and slave-like conditions, and four whole pages on the recipe for adobe bricks.

Jesus was a carpenter after all.

And how that relates to my son's new dream of becoming a clerk in a skateshop is really beyond explanation.

Why skateboard shop clerk and not fireman or astronaut is also . . . beyond explanation . . . but honestly I don't know who ends up ahead . . . the nine year old who dreams of being batman . . . or the one who dreams of an exquisitely modest life in retail.

But skating is the new thing. It dominated the Holiday of Giving this year and that was all well and good.

He wanted a pro-deck, very specific compenents, and he wanted to build it himself (with a little practical hands-on from dear old dad.)

The cool thing is that I found a website that sells individual components without brand logos and ended up saving a lot of cold cash. That was a pretty good steal.

I saved so much on the deck, trucks, grip tape, and bearings that I was able to splurge for some brand name set of wheels. I tried to convince him that we could get the exact same wheels, without the sticker for half the price, but he really wanted a specific set from a specific company.

Which I totally get. Sometimes you gotta pony up a little dough in cases where generic simply won't do.

So I got him the cool wheels. And they were exactly like the same wheels I would've gotten elsewhere, but these had graphics on the side. Actually, not even graphics, these had a sitcker.

Okay, whatever.

So come Chrismas morning, the boy and I build his custom skateboard together, and three and a half nonseconds after I loosened the trucks, he was out the door.

He races back in to tell me it's the best thing he's ever had. And races back out again.


Then he races back in to tell me to loosen the trucks some more. (He weighs exactly seven and three tenths of a pound, which makes turning a skateboard tough).

With skate-key in hand, I flip the board over and notice to my dismay that the graphics (stickers) had almost completely rubbed off. The wheels were just fine, but the all-important-graphics didn't last ten minutes. Gotta admit, I was a little ticked. I mean, you expect some wear and tear, especially on a toy that is made for grinding, shredding, and all out mayhem, but you kinda want to think that the sticker could get through twenty minutes of pounding from a feather weight.

I didn't mention it to him cause I didn't want to ruin his high, but I vowed then never to buy logo wheels again.

The subject, however, did come up a week or so later when we dismatled the board to clean out the beariings. I noticed that the wheels were already starting to wear on the outer edges (the boy skates several hours a day), and like a good neighbor helped the kid rotate his tires.

He looked at the board and mentioned that he like the look of the wheels better without the grapics and I told him that that was good because we weren't going to buy them again when we could get the exact same wheels for much much much more cheaply.

He looked at me, a bit agasped . . . "But the how are we going to support [insert skate company name] if we don't buy their wheels?"


"Well . . . [insert skate company name] is a small skate company out of San Francisco and we can't support them if we don't buy their wheels. In fact, I'm thinking for my next deck I want to get a board with graphics."

"But the graphics get scraped off."


Wait . . . did a nine-year-old just give me a civic's lesson on socially conscience consumerism?

Cause if he did . . .well . . . that's just weird.

It gets a little weirder still when you factor in he prefers the look of the white walls over the pretty pictures.

I honestly don't know what kind of person I'm raising, but it's hard not to admit that he's gonna be an interesting person regardless of the hours he spends in class learing about early American History.

But he's still gonna have to build a mission.

It's the law.

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