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Monday, March 20, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 114

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About the Cougar
 

Common sense isn't so common in youth 

Xavier Trevino

I was never a smart child. Actually, I was considered bright in certain circles, but lacked the ever-necessary "snap." 

Plain common sense was what my father called "snap." It's the ability to see the most obvious solution for a problem great or small. So for those of us who lack "snap," life can be quite a challenge. It's not so much that I'm stupid, just a bit on the goofy side.

For instance, I often find myself heavily influenced by cinema and trends. I had this moment of clarity over Spring Break. I was sitting up in my room flipping through the channels when I happened upon a film I thought had been sealed away in the Smithsonian.

Breakin' is perhaps one of the greatest and worst movies to ever grace the silver screen. Never before has such a blend of pop, thin plot line and bad acting been brought together in a surreal montage that would make Dali proud.

It goes without saying, I too was swept up in the break dancing scene as a young lad. Many nights I spent in front of the mirror perfecting my "robot." This of course was with the intention to wow my friends and woo the ladies with my wicked gyrations.

But I wasn't always the greatest breakdancer of them all. Hard to believe, yes I know. I remember it vividly. Breakin' had just finished, and I had the moves of O-zone and Turbo, great names, fresh in my mind. I wanted to break dance, but I was missing a few things. Music for one, and most importantly a cool jump suit and a cardboard box. So I managed to dump all the Christmas decorations out on the closet floor, then proceeded to create a quality dance board. 

Next I put on a head band and a neon shirt. Man, I was smooth. Finally, I took my Chewbacca clock radio outside and turned it to the local radio station and proceeded to dance. It was only a matter of minutes before the whole block was around watching me. Unfortunately, it was not for my dancing skills. 

Apparently, my neighbors were concerned for my well being and thought I was having an epileptic fit. They called 911. That was the end of my break dancing career. But it wasn't the end of Hollywood's profound influence upon this impressionable young boy.

I went through two different "X-games" phases: skateboarding and bike riding. Two different movies hit me: Rad and Thrashin'. Of course, soon after I saw Rad, I zoomed out of the house riding around the neighborhood and trying to do tricks and other Herculean feats with my Huffy from Target. It took me less than an hour to try and jump park benches before I nearly impaled myself on the handlebars of my bike. My BMX phase was one of the more painful pursuits of my adolescence.

The greatest and most tragic of my phases was the skateboarding era. Crippled by lack of funds on my part, I was unable to procure the top-of-the-line boards, so once again Target provided me with the answer. A sleek Varaflex model called The Ramp Rat. It had a striking pictorial of a rat on a skateboard. The Rat possessed a lean and hungry silhouette, which gave it a menacing air. Needless to say, my friends were quite impressed. Unlike the smart kids, I decided to skate without pads. My knees would thank me later.

It was a brisk winter morning and the dew had a special frozen glisten to it. My comrades-in-arms and I skated on down to the local park where we proceeded to skate in the sultry concrete curves of a sewage exit. It took only a few moments before I hit a loose rock and went flying off into the unmentionable gore that had accumulated at the base of the sewage drain. To make matters worse, that very same day while I was watching Thrashin' for the umpteenth time, my father ran over The Ramp Rat. The world stood still for that one moment. The horror, the horror.

My father felt bad and attempted to fix the broken Rat. His idea of fixing it was bolting a two by four to it. The Rat never rode the same again.

Truth be told, I'm not really ashamed of the crazy, stupid or goofy things I did as a kid. Actually, I'm quite proud. I never left anything to chance and knew no fear. Except the fear of my parents, whom I never understood. I would come home with a twisted ankle or scabbed knee and they would yell at me for getting hurt, but that's beside the point.

Every day we look back at the stupid stuff we did then, and then we look at the really stupid stuff we do now. As our lunch money increases, so does our tendency toward calamity. Whether influenced by the latest Hollywood blockbuster or a dare from our friends, danger and stupidity are never far behind.

So as you look back on what you may have done this Spring Break, know that you're not alone. The rest of us are just as retarded. Chances are no matter what you did it could not have been as bad as what I did after I saw The Last Dragon, but that's for another column.

Trevino, a junior MIS major, 
can be reached at resplendentcrane@aol.com.

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