top of page

Longboarders: Beware!

September 23, 2008

by Ian McGinnity

There is an old and endearing Amer-Indian tale told in my homeland of Arizona about a man named Tallfeather. Tallfeather was the most nimble amongst all of the others in the Navajo tribe and it was said that he could climb the tallest mountain in Northern Arizona (basically a hill) with the agility of a mountain goat. His prowess and skill gained him many friends and he was known by the female Navajo as "Rampaging-Buffalo-Junk". Included in those females was Runningwater, the Chief's favorite daughter. Indeed, Runningwater loved Tallfeather; she loved him almost as much as she loved picking berries for survival. But, in the words of the Great Spirit, with great skill and great power comes great responsibility. Or maybe that was Spiderman. Either way, Tallfeather did not heed the wisdom of Uncle Great Spirit, and became prideful. His great pride caused others in the tribe to hate him, especially a young warrior named Sittingbull. Sittingbull decided he would challenge Tallfeather to a race up the tallest mountain in Northern Arizona. Tallfeather, being so proud and so sure of his abilities eagerly and haughtily agreed to the race. It was to take place at first morning's light the next day, as was customary within the tribe. The Chief began the race with the traditional invocation to the Great Spirit and his helpers: Owl Eye, Cougar Claw, and Tiger's Milk. The yak's horn was blown and the race began. Tallfeather burst forth, leaving Sittingbull to revel in the dust from Tallfeather's moccasins. Nonetheless, Sittingbull persisted at an easy pace. Like anyone who has ever played Oregon Trail, a grueling pace only sets you back and will quite possibly give Jedadiah cholera. An hour into the race, Tallfeather had already scaled to the midway point of the mountain. Far below the elms, and oaks, he saw Sittingbull wheezing as he struggled to progress, one vertical foot at a time, up the sheer mountain cliffs.

"This is too's like taking blankets away from infants in the winter," thought Tallfeather. "I will belittle this fool even more, by winning the race with my eyes closed!" Indeed, it was a bold idea, almost as bold as accepting beads from strangers. But Tallfeather knew the mountain by heart and proceeded intrepidly forward and upward. He had not taken two steps when, suddenly, a mountain lion, named Rocksinpath, whom Tallfeather had awoken with his noisy inner-monologue, lept from its cave and devoured Tallfeather, limb by nimble limb. Five hours later, Sittingbull finally reached the top of the mountain and was claimed the victor and as a prize was given Runningwater's hand in marriage (to be paid to him in full over a period of 72 months).

You might ask yourself right about now, "What exactly is this story about and why did I waste my time reading it when I could have been joyfully staring at a blank wall, admiring textures instead?" I will tell you: I had something very similar to this story happen to me the other day and wish to warn you of the dangers of the road.

I was longboarding back to CMC from another socially-regulating, dissident-crushing, indoctrinating Russian class at Pomona, I passed the fenced-off Pitzer Hall to my right and the library to my left. Actually, I should say, nearly passed. I was impolitely waved over to the library side of the street by the unfriendly security guard/crosswalk attendant (ah, sweet grade school nostalgia) where I promptly encountered a very large and very unavoidable rock. With the grace of a swan and the beauty of something about to hit the ground extremely hard, I nimbly flew off of the board and onto the asphalt. Luckily, my acute agility allowed me to brace the fall with my face and wrist. I was even able to keep my dignity, due to the fact that no one witnessed my epic wipe out. Except the large group of Scripps girls walking by. And the security guards. And everyone on all seven floors of the library who saw me face plant from the seven story library windows. And possibly Dean Huang. Anyway, I calmly collected myself, brushed my shirt off, made a coy and clever comment to the Scrippsies such as, "Guhhhhh....", and handled the situation with class, as I limped back to Wohlford, my dignity in tatters.

The lesson of the story: The road from losing (Pomona) to victory (CMC) can be treacherous so beware! And remember, always watch out for Rocksinpath. Because if you don't, the results could end up destroying any shred of self-dignity you may have remaining.

bottom of page