Honolulu Lite


You have to be nuts
to ride the rails

There must be a scientific term to describe a species that, through its very own actions or lifestyle, ensures its own extinction.

It's probably something like idiotus fatalious or bigdummyitus suicidalous or simply George-of-the-Jungle copycatus.

I was contemplating this subject recently while watching some kids on skateboards trying to slide down a metal stairway handrail.

By now we've all seen skaters do this on television on shows such as "Bluetorch" or any of the extreme sports shows. The skater zips down a sidewalk toward some stairs and then somehow launches himself and his skateboard into the air. He lands on the metal handrail and skids down it on his board (the wooden part of the board sliding on the rail) and then miraculously flies off the end of the railing and lands, still standing, on the sidewalk. It's pretty impressive. When it is done right. But most guys don't do it right. They screw up. And when a guy screws up trying to ride a metal handrail on a skateboard, the result, at least to other males, is exceedingly painful to watch.

To put it in unemotional forensic terms, as the subject falls off the board, his legs inevitably spread, causing the metal handrail to come into violent contact with the part of the male anatomy responsible for reproduction.

The truth of the matter is that sliding down a metal handrail on a skateboard not only is really stupid but quite difficult and the number of people able to pull off the maneuver are in the minority. But because so many successful rail slides are shown on television, average skaters think it's easy to do. So they try it.

Which explains why the guys I was watching attempt rail slides experienced at least one, let us say, "crusher," several, shall we say, "smooshers" and many heart-stopping near misses. Near hits, really. Because, when it comes to that part of the body which (trust me, ladies) is sensitive to the extreme, there are no near misses, just "almost gotchas."

One "almost gotcha" is enough to stop most males, at least most males who want to sire offspring, from ever again participating in the enterprise that resulted in the close call.

But skaters don't seem to have this will to spread their DNA. They endure rail-slide crusher after crusher with nothing more than a sympathetic "duuuuude" from their friends to comfort them.

Which brings us back to the question of what the scientific term for such behavior is. Because, clearly, skaters who repeatedly smash their vital reproductive hardware against metal objects aren't going to be fathering any little skaters in the future. They are a doomed species, the rail-slide skaters, an evolutionary dead end. And all you can say as you watch them painfully annihilate their reproductive organs in pursuit of a cheap, three-second thrill ride is: "duuuuuuuude." Maybe that's the appropriate term.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail

E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Calendars]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --