The Epic Saga of the Biscuit with the Loose Trucks
It’s a miracle more people weren’t hurt
|The Author |
The skateboards looked so cool. Like surfing on the street!
One day I was scrolling through Facebook when an advertisement came up and magically transported me back to my youth. The ad was for some skateboards that looked like giant surfboards on wheels.
The ad showed skinny, blond-haired surfer kids using these skateboards to “land surf” all over the boardwalks, and parking lots at the beach. The kids were “hanging ten,” twirling around, and grabbing the rails of the boards and making deep carving turns like the way surfboards turn in the water.
There was even a video of a big chubby guy who kinda looked my same age (50), riding the tiniest version of the surfing skateboard, the model called “The Biscuit.”
If he can do it, I can do it, I thought.
. . .
I don’t get to the beach as much as I used to
These days, I only go “real” surfing during the summer, when the water gets warm. There was a time when I was going surfing every day after work. Three or four years ago, however, some sleaze shattered the back window of my car and stole my laptop bag with all my banking information in it while I was surfing.
As fun as it was working on the project of canceling all my credit cards, and re-doing all the paperwork for virtually every single aspect of my personal and business life, I found it hard to regain my surfing mojo after that. I don’t know why.
. . .
One of those skateboards would solve all my problems
I have to get one of those skateboards, I thought. Then I can just go outside my house in the cul de sac, and go “surfing.” I won’t have to park the car at the derelict beach ever again. I won’t have to wake up early in the morning and put on a cold wetsuit.
The videos showed some of the kids using these special poles to push themselves along on the longboard skateboards. The whole set up was meant to approximate paddleboarding on land.
I’ll get that pole too. After a few weeks of pushing myself along with that pole, I’ll have a six-pack of abs. Thank God I saw this ad for these skateboards today. This is going to be killing two birds with one stone. I won’t have to get sandy at the beach anymore, and I won’t have to go to the gym, because I’ll be so ripped from using that pole to push myself along in the cul de sac.
Hearts were popping out of my ears as I went straight to the website and bought the cheapest, smallest model of skateboard called “The Biscuit.” I ordered the purple one, called the “Deep Space” Biscuit.
I was kinda shocked to see that the “Sweeper” pole cost nearly $150.00.
What the hell? Why is this pole so expensive? Oh well, I’ll probably be canceling my monthly gym membership, and it’s cheaper than a Peloton.
I ordered the pole too.
The arrival in the mail
When the day of the Biscuit arrival came, I ran out to greet the UPS truck like a kid at Christmas. I ripped open the box and delighted at the psychedelic purple skateboard. It was short and fat and ready to go.
Wait a sec. Why are the trucks so loose? Is that what makes the board turn so loosely, like a surfboard in the water?
The “trucks” are the T-shaped metal axels which are bolted to the bottom of the board and have the wheels on the end of them. These were super duper trucks, much more substantial than regular skateboard trucks. But for some reason, these trucks were bolted onto the board very loosely, such that I could jiggle the whole truck far too easily it seemed to me.
Can this be right? Is that how that girl in the bikini was able to make such sharp turns?
I jiggled the trucks and filmed it with my phone. I sent the video to a few of my friends with whom I used to skateboard 35 years ago. Pardon the bad language on the video.
I got a return text.
“Cool. Crazy looking board.”
“ . . .”
“Don’t kill yourself.”
. . .
The maiden ride and the “stick”
The next day, the “Sweeper” pole arrived in the mail. It was made of graphite, and thus, it flexed and provided some thrust when I planted it on the ground and pushed off.
It was time to make the maiden ride on the Biscuit. In no time, I was pushing myself around like a pro. I was so proud, I even had my wife Tracy film me.
As you will hear, unfortunately, Tracy ruined the audio on the video when she made a bunch of smart-ass comments. She insisted on calling my Sweeper pole, “the stick.” Please try to ignore her comments if you watch the video link here:
“Oh my God, you’re going to kill yourself on that thing someday,” Tracy said off-camera.
. . .
The incident at the park
The next day Son #2 had soccer practice at the park near the beach.
What a perfect place to really stretch out and ride the Biscuit and use the pole, I thought.
When we got to the park, I began riding the Biscuit, first without the pole, because there were people around, and I was a little embarrassed to use it.
The Biscuit was enough of an attention-grabber as it was I guess because people were staring and pointing at me a lot.
It was a hot day because I got really sweaty after only 4 or 5 minutes of riding. Then involuntary thoughts flooded my mind, some of which seemed contradictory. I could not shoo the thoughts away:
Time to quit. You haven’t killed yourself yet, so that’s great. How long are you going to keep riding? Until you fall down and hurt yourself?... But you haven’t used the pole yet. You gotta try the pole. It cost so much money. Just a couple of rides with the pole, to get a jump start on that six-pack of abs.
I got the pole and rode back over to the open space around the bathrooms. Round and round I went, pumping and unweighting, and using the pole to push off whenever the board threatened to stop. More involuntary thoughts entered my head.
That’s good enough for today. You should wait until the helmet arrives, it’s coming in the mail soon. Let’s quit while we’re ahead . . . Let’s just go one time down behind the bleachers for one long run beside the baseball third baseline. Then we’ll come back and put everything away.
So I rolled down an incline and headed behind the bleachers along the third baseline. I pushed down on the pole a couple of times and got lots of speed.
That’s when the two front wheels hit the crack in the pavement, and the board came to a complete stop, while my body kept going, flying in mid-air.
. . .
The Wreck of the Biscuit with Loose Trucks
As my body transitioned from an upright surfer stance into a Pete Rose head-first slide into home plate, I put my arms out in front of me but neglected to drop the pole.
The pole now served as a sort of rolling pin. Like a giant rolling pin from the Spanish Inquisition, that they used to force confessions from people accused of being witches and heretics. As I landed upon the medieval rolling pin, it slowly and methodically cracked all of the ribs on my right side.
As the pole cracked my ribs, a sound emitted out of my body. It was not the cute little sound the Pillsbury Dough Boy makes when the finger pushes against his rib cage. Instead, it was the sound that the lady reporter made when she fell down, squishing grapes with her feet, on the first video ever to go viral on the internet. Please click on the link provided that is underlined, it’s really worth it to refresh your memory of that sound.
I sprawled out on the sidewalk twitching like a fly smashed with a fly swatter. A guy from the softball field ran over and asked through the chain-link fence.
“Dude, are you okay?! That was gnarly!” he asked, genuinely concerned.
I looked up at him, and for some odd reason, my first impulse was to say, “Thank you.” But there was no air in my diaphragm, lungs or mouth. There was no air in my bloodstream for that matter.
Any air that had been in my body when I slapped against the pavement was expelled from my body on a molecular level. This was more than just “having the wind knocked out.” This was something more serious like “the bends” that a deep-sea diver gets.
I stared into the guy’s eyes, and I made a wheezing sound like the cartoon dog Muttley when he laughs. Like a carny holding the lip of a balloon, letting the air out slowly. Both the guy’s eyes and mine got wide when we heard the sound I made.
I picked up my Biscuit and my pole and started walking to my car. I sobbed a little bit, like Ben Stiller in There’s Something About Mary.
As I walked, I could feel there was something wrong with my body. There was definitely something very, very wrong. It felt as though I might have exploded my kidney or something. It felt like my spleen, or some other organ was in the wrong place. I felt misshapen and cold.
I knew a kid in elementary school who exploded his kidney doing a jump on his BMX bike. He never grew after that. I was worried. Not that I am still growing or anything.
I went to the car, and put the driver’s seat back, turning it into a makeshift hospital bed, or dentist’s chair. I felt my chest, trying to assess whether I needed to drive to the hospital. I might have passed out. Son #2’s soccer practice came to an end, and he opened the back seat door.
“Dad, are you sleeping? What’s wrong, Dad?” Son #2 asked.
“I think I have internal bleeding son.”
God, is there any way I can avoid telling Tracy about this?
. . .
The pain, the excruciating pain
“It’s not my fault. I’m telling you the trucks on that board are too loose! Ow. Ouch!” I buckled over in pain.
“It wasn’t my fault!” I said, gripping my chest, because it hurt when I got excited.
. . .
The letter in the mail
Somehow I went to work the next day, even though I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I got home and resumed lying like a corpse on the couch.
“Here, this is for you,” said Tracy, throwing an envelope on my desk in the man cave.
“What is it?” I asked, whimpering.
“I don’t know, but it’s from the skateboard company,” said Tracy.
I pretended like I did not really hear what she said. Of course, I wanted to jump up and get it and read it, but I did not want Tracy to see the process I had to go through to stand up. As soon as I was sure she was gone and occupied with something else, I got to work.
I limbo’d sideways off the couch and gripped the ottoman. The process of me sliding off the couch, and crawling towards the desk was similar to the scene in The Wolf of Wall Street when Leonardo DiCaprio gets into the Lamborghini.
I ripped open the letter. Inside the envelope, there was a plastic baggie filled with some sort of nuts or bolts. I opened the plastic baggie and unfolded the letter inside it.
BISCUIT FIX FOR LOOSE TRUCK MOUNTS
We have had a few complaints that the truck mounts on our Biscuits were loose. If this happened with your Biscuit, we are sorry for this inconvenience. We think we’ve figured out the root cause and we’ve made corrections at the factory. For your board, we also have a fix. We have provided you with 8 split lock washers, one for each bolt that holds the trucks to the deck. If your board has loose truck mounts, please remove the lock nuts, install one split lock washer and then tighten down. You’ll need a Philips screwdriver and a #10 metric box wrench. Your board should be fine from there.
By way of explanation, when we built and assembled these boards, they were perfectly tight. We think that what happened was that, over time, the plywood glue cross-linked, and the natural wood moisture level dropped causing the plywood to shrink a little bit. When it’s hot, the bolts expand and “get longer.” We think that these tiny changes combined to cause the connection to loosen.
To be honest, we don’t have this happen all that often, but we hear about it on the Biscuit more than other boards. If you recently purchased a Biscuit and there was an extra set of silver bolts included, those bolt threads don’t match the locknuts. Please discard those silver bolts and use the split lock washers.
We’re very sorry for the inconvenience.
CHEERS — Donnie
. . .
My bottom lip trembled as I finished reading the letter. A tear fell from my eye onto the letter.
I knew it. I knew it wasn’t my fault that I crashed.
I was overcome with emotion. At first, I was happy. Happy that the accident was not my fault. Then I was mad. Mad that they almost killed me. Then I was astonished. How could they write such a dumb letter?
As a personal injury attorney myself, I know that this company must not have an attorney working for them. No attorney would have ever let the company mail this letter. This was a bald-faced admission that they had sent me a defective product and nearly killed me.
“Hey, Tracy! The trucks were loose. I told you the crash was not my fault!” I screamed.
“Hoo-ray,” said Tracy. Then I think I heard her say “You know it was still his fault right?”
“Yep,” I heard Son #1 say.
Then I heard some sarcastic slow hand-clapping too.
My email to the company
I climbed into my chair and opened the laptop. I wrote the skateboard company an email. I described the fall at length and told them I did not want to fix my “Biscuit,” I wanted a new one, free of charge. I was really proud of this paragraph:
I don’t want to sue or make any sort of claim against [Skateboard Company]
I am a personal injury attorney. That’s what I do for a living. I appreciate [Skateboard Company’s] laid back marketing and family-owned business culture. But I gotta tell ya, receiving an envelope in the mail with eight (8) washers in it made my jaw drop. I felt like I was living out an episode from the first couple seasons of Saturday Night Live, the ones where Dan Akyroyd played a crooked business owner that sold ridiculously dangerous defective products for kids.
One episode features him selling a “Bag o’ Glass” for kids to play with. I am not interested in suing or making an insurance claim against [Skateboard Company]. I can guarantee you if I was more seriously injured, I would do it, and I would win. That’s not what this is about.
. . .
The Skateboard Company’s response
The Skateboard Company responded quickly, saying they would give me a full refund, and send me a box to mail the “Biscuit” back to them and they would fix it.
I emailed them that it was okay, they did not need to fix my “Biscuit,” as I was permanently retiring it, and hanging it on the wall of my man cave.
Tracy’s brother, who is a contractor, and almost as handy as Tracy, fixed the “Biscuit” later. He sat in the man cave and used his drill to take the board apart, and then put the washers on in less than a minute. Then he held the “Biscuit” up and inspected it, with an amused look on his face.
“You actually tried to ride this thing, Jacky?” he said chuckling, as he put the “Biscuit” back up on the wall mount he had installed too.
“Next time you’re gonna ride it, can you give me a call, or film it? I don’t want to miss it!” he said.
. . .
Later I broke down and bought the “Logger” model, and it’s a beauty
The Logger model arrived, and I promptly hung it right on the wall. I didn’t actually ride the thing until months later. Only months after my ribs finally stopped aching, I finally took it out for a spin.
It took no less than 8 weeks for my ribs to finally heal and stop aching after the fall off the Biscuit.
I sneezed exactly seven times during those 8 weeks.
Copyright © 2020 Jack Clune