Last    Contents    Next

Chapter 31

Making a Living

     So what's the point of all this? My old friend the material question calls me awake. I've got to make a living. So I take a big breath and start doing the obvious steps of answering ads, sending resumes for anything I'm qualified for, getting the word of mouth moving. It's when I'm in that receptive, open-to-anything state of mind, a new venue for my skills comes into focus, a voice says, "OK, you're hired," and the stage is set for a whole new drama. That's the way it's always been for me.

     I think the fact that I like having a job tilts the karmic odds in my favor. I like being down at the mine before anyone. I like being there early, drinking my coffee and reading the newspaper in the dawn while my co-workers straggle in. I like having some cooperative effort to occupy the day. I like having friends to have laughs with, projects to succeed at; I like lunch; I like going back to work; I like solving building problems; I like quitting time; I like working late when there's a reason to. I feel some pain and I leave a little blood on every job, and I even like that. When you love your work, turns out, all lunches are free, and the lumps are worth the price. Sometimes you end up in the hole; sometimes you got a pile left over. It's not about the gold; it's about digging what you're doing all day, and the treasure of discovering the characters that you're digging with.

     What inhales, exhales. When the project is over, I'm ready for a new adventure. I like the finale too. The end of most projects goes like this: The boss or client comes up to you, says, in so many words, "Good job, now get out of here!" Your creation is completed; your tribe dissolves. Next time, roles may be reversed: I might be the foreman of a crew, or the general contractor, or just a carpenter on the team. I'd just as soon be a small player. The chief gets the big headdress and the big headaches.

     JW has been working as the archivist and resident videographer at Skate One since 2002, converting the entire Powell-Peralta video library to digital video format. His first major projects were to do the DVD authoring of the company's original VHS videos for re-release and to create bonus features from the archive of never-before-seen footage. When he got full circle to The Search For Animal Chin, he included a screening of those same members of the Bones Brigade making comments and cracking each other up while watching the entire video.

     When he had the project finished, JW drove up to see me at home in Petaluma. In an odd coincidence, it just so happened that Joel Watson appeared unexpectedly, the very same day. I have seen him just 3 times in the last 25 years. He lives in Missouri and just pops in on me when business brings him to Northern California. His visits are always hilarious, and this time the three of us watched the video of the Bones Brigade commenting while watching Animal Chin. I wish we had audio of our commentary over the top of theirs. That was 2005.

     By 2010, Stacy and George had teamed up again to reissue the iconic Powell-Peralta skateboards from their heyday, and in 2011, Stacy went to work on a feature length documentary of the whole Bones Brigade phenomenon. He interviewed all the key figures in the saga. JW was enlisted to take behind the scenes shots of the interviews being taped and provide clips from Powell's vast archive of footage. When all 95 hours of interviews were all in the can, Stacy had all the dialogue transcribed into print. JW was tasked to locate the highlighted clips and put them together in a rough edit for Stacy and his L.A. editor.

     I happened to be taking a two-year break from my Northern California adventures to take care of my 100-year old mother in her final days in Carpinteria, so I had a lot of spare time. JW's responsibilities got so huge that he set me up with the editing software, Final Cut Pro, so that I could do his overload of busy work for putting together the rough edit. In January 2012, Stacy's Bones Brigade: An Autobiography was screened for the first time at the Sundance Film Festival. JW was credited as one of the producers.

     Somewhere JW got the idea to combine adventure with the material question of survival. And that's the point of all this. The need to make a living is a ticket to making a great life.

     Do you need a job? What amazing good fortune.

Last    Contents    Next
Buy Button

© 2017, 2022 John Oliver
All Rights Reserved