Senior Citizens, Skateboarders, Beat Poets

Tonight the kids and I attended a special meeting of Laguna Beach’s Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee. The issue being discussed was skateboarding, and the relationship of skateboarders to drivers. A few (mostly older) residents have complained to city officials lately about the presence of fast-moving skateboarders on their streets, and are calling for a ban on skateboarding on at least some of Laguna’s streets. Unfortunately for their side, the anti-skateboard crusaders came across as crabby senior citizens who don’t want to share the road. I respect their right to weigh in on this issue and understand their concerns about safety, but the idea of making cars king, and banning a fun, healthy activity like skateboarding (in the epicenter of boarding culture, no less) seems crazy to me.

Schuyler read a letter that he and David wrote in opposition to the proposed ban; he did a great job and I was so proud. My guys (all three of them) are smarties.

There were a few local old-timers who spoke in favor of the skateboarders; these are the type of folks who like to weigh in on various topics in City Council meetings, and who usually mention Timothy Leary and Laguna Canyon, and surfboard shapers from back in the day, and use the term “consciousness” a few times. You’ve got to love these guys (they’re usually guys; I don’t know why). At tonight’s meeting, an old hippie got up to speak and started off sounding like all the other old hippies who had just spoken, and my attention drifted a bit. But then he said, “And if we’re going to start banning things, then I’ve got a long list of dangerous things that should be banned,” and he launched into a “Howl”-style rant that was funny and poetic and kind of awesome. I’ve tried to remember some of “the list,” and—voila—a “found” poem:

big oil

big government


cough syrup


bovine growth hormone.


dysfunctional relationships

sexual repression.

the insurance industry