The Best Type of Sick Day


The other day I channeled Ferris Bueller and played hooky from work. I woke up on Wednesday morning with a sinking realization that I couldn't remember the last time I gave back to my community. And it made me feel shitty. In the process of trying to ‘make it’ I had become a little too self-obsessed, there was a lot of me, me, me, and not a lot of much else. So with the boss on the other side of the world, I spent the day volunteering with STOKED, who partners with middle and high schools in underserved communities, to provide an alternative way to learn through action sports.My first stop was East Side Community High School, helping a class of 14 year olds, who were drawing ideas for the bottom of skate decks they had made. Their goal was to create graphics that were personal to them. My goal was to help them express themselves through design, but mainly to keep them off their cellphones–no easy task.

stoked-0124 My last stop was the Brooklyn Latin School--Yep, they still have mandatory latin classes—where I was confronted by a very noisy group of 15 year olds. Like, my eardrums are still ringing. Our goal for the two hour session was to make a skateboard from scratch. This involves gluing seven layers of wood together, banding them, putting the glue-y mess in a bag, sealing it with tar, and frantically pumping all the air out. A true team effort. The conversation then turned to film and the consensus was that Marvel movies with a ton of CGI were the coolest. The disappointment was palpable when I had to admit that I had never used CGI and I made documentaries. Nobody was impressed. In a pathetic attempt to make them like me again, I told the story about how I ended up with a surfboard inserted in my skull and spent two weeks on ‘brain rest’. I got slight props for that.


So what am I going to take away from today? If ‘making it’ is my goal–whatever that means—I must find time to help folk in my community. Grasp any opportunity to inspire kids to work hard and be true to themselves. Proselytize the impact that learning an action sport can have on people’s confidence. And make time to stop and smell the roses.


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