If you have known me for more than a half hour, then you probably have heard this story. Well fuck it, re-live this shit, because it may be the most epic story you will ever hear in your lifetime. It is a story of passion, a story of survival, a story of man versus nature and of man versus himself. It is arguably the greatest story ever told:
Denton is small.
It is very small, and being small means that there were not a lot of skate spots. We would skate four inch tall curbs, pieces of scrap wood, guard rails, anything we could find.
God must have recognized our lack of skate spots, when he parted the heavens, and created the library gap.
The library gap was perfect. Michelangelo himself could not have sculpted a better skate spot. The grassy knoll of the library gap should be infinitely more famous than that other grassy knoll, where someone shot what’s-his-name. The sound the bricks made riding down its runway, was like listening to Mozart for the first time. From the top of the gap the Denton courthouse, located across the street, was reminiscent of the Taj Mahal, and the rest of Denton could be seen majestically stretched across its vast plains. The library gap was beautiful yet dangerous….like the panther.
Almost everyday we would pass this mythical gap, and everyday I would tell myself, like King Arthur before me, “One day I shall slay this beast!!!” My destiny had been chosen, now I simply had to fulfill the prophecy.
It was the summer of 1996. It was a hot and humid summer. And on this particular day the humidity was smothering, only slightly interrupted from a slight breeze blowing in from the north. Autumn would soon be upon us.
We had skated all day, and rested our weary legs in front of the local Bargain Beverage. While we quenched our thirst with Yoohoo and tamed our hunger with Ho-Hos, our conversation soon turned toward me leaving in the upcoming weeks for college, a place very far away from the comforts that a small southern town afforded. Some time ago I had made a pact with myself and my fellow skate brethren, that before I left this town named Denton, I would conquer the great library gap.
I spoke, “Brothers, lend me thine ear, for today is my day, and tis’ my hour. The time has come! Rise, and follow me to the GAP!!!”
This claim was met with indifference, for this was not the first claim that had been made. Oh no my friends, there were many gentleman callers who had tried to pop the cherry of this fair maiden. Most arrived confidently, but soon cowered at her amble bosom and were sent home quivering.
The walk to the library gap was intense, similar to the walk of the gladiator as he prepares for battle. The town was silent. Locals removed their caps as I passed. “Dead man walking!”
As we arrived at the gap, I lowered my head and paid my respects. For as much as I wanted to destroy her, I was also deeply in love with her.
I took my place on its brick runway, and made peace with myself and god. I whispered, “…you can do this Snacks…” As I placed my foot on my board my leg was trembling from fear. It was too late, there was no turning back, I passed the point of no return.
I skated fast toward that grassy knoll and as I approached the end of the sidewalk I slid out and ran down the hill. This was not my time.
I scaled her green pastures and regained my composure for another try. Again, I skated toward her edge and again I was overtaken with fright, and merely ran down the hill. I had underestimated her height and girth. This would be much harder than I thought.
My third attempt was before me. It was time to fulfill my destiny.
With a running start I mounted my skateboard and charged at the beast. My tail popped and I soared. Oh how I soared, like the eagle in flight. I was weightless, and only after I had cleared the gaps expansive body, did I re-enter the atmosphere and feel the pull of gravity. As I descended I knew I would be triumphant. My wheels touched the earth, and I rode away, the library gap now behind me.
Victorious, I collapsed in exhaustion, and also because I had heel bruises like a motherfucker. I had won this battle, but the gap would live on to fight another day.
As I limped home a sparrow landed on my shoulder and a rainbow appeared just beyond the horizon. I looked back and there in the distance stood the Library Gap, defiantly, like Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids. The library gap winked at me, tipped its cap, and said, “You won this round kiddo.”
The following day my feet were killing me. I went to Foot Locker and asked them what the most comfortable shoes they had were. He handed me a pair of New Balance.
Thus concludes the Denton Tall Tales. It was a nice run. I hope you had as much fun reading them as I did writing them.