There was this one cartoon on the newspaper-type pages among the hodgepodge articles and photos in one of the earliest Thrashers I can remember. I'm dating myself here, but who really cares. I cut out that little comic and hung it on the back of my bedroom door. The comic hung next to a sequence of Alan Losi doing a hip-hop over a channel on an obscure ramp somewhere, along with a photo of Hawk lying down on top of his board with his face painted as his graphics, an ad for Venture V3 trucks, and a Brand X ad, along with a plethora of other odds and ends thoroughly representing skateboarding at the time. All of this covered the back of my bedroom door. The cartoon depicted a skateboarder blasting a huge, huge backside air out of this ramp; the kids on the platform and all around were commenting and yelling with excitement, as skaters often do even these days (not much has changed there) when something noteworthy has been executed. I remember studying that comic and pointing out one of the comments to my brother, the one with the guy looking up, yelling, "Phuc!" In my innocence and general bliss of youth and excitement over skateboarding, I said, "Look, he's saying 'Puke!'" And my brother's response (as he was a little older than me and wise to the ways of the world) was to maintain that innocence of mine a bit longer. But I can still see the look in his eyes that he knew I had no clue. He smiled and remained silent anyway. That was well over 20 years ago, but I remember that look like yesterday. I'd appreciated that about my brother. In that very moment he kept skating pure to me, even from the silliness of a silly word. He understood in some obscure way just how much I loved it all, and was wise to know that actually revealing the harshness of some things in skateboarding (and life in general) might take some of the fun out of it. He preserved the mystery of it for me. It is the mystery of not fully knowing the object of our love that sometimes makes us love what we love with an unfulfilled longing for more. And that's just it. That's skateboarding. It's addition. Variable ratio on wheels. Like gambling. You did that trick yesterday but can't work it out today. Ah, the mystery of it all. That's what makes us love it. That's what keeps us coming back for more, even all battered and bruised. And kids still get just as excited about it and just as addicted as I did over 20 years ago. Regardless of how many tricks you have learned, how many sponsors you have had, how many videos you've made or been in, or even how many cut-rate letters you've written about skateboarding, it is and always will be pure fun, a purely innocent thrill void of all the peripheral--well, crap--that can accompany this object of our love. Congratulations, Thrasher, on 25 years! Sorry for the late congrats, but thank you for faithfully reminding us that skating is fun--and for being there the whole time I've been skating and getting me stoked all the more to keep rolling. I have to thank my brother, too, Jody, for keeping it so pure and simple fun in its own proper rightful essence, even way back when. Just wanted to say thank you all.
Jason "Redneck" Brown