There’s no how-to book for life.

At least not that I’ve yet to find, and my bookshelf is grown ing under the weight of my ever-growing collection.

There have been occasional instances when I’ve described various tasks as ‘sisyphusian’, though I’ve come to learn the word is actually ‘Sisyphean’ (pronounced sisif-ian for those who might care about such things), so there is yet another pitfall of conjuring one’s own words.

I can’t even do that right.

Alas, my point is that this describes life to a daily well crafted T these days. Just when I think I’ve finally gotten out of my own way, the proverbial boulder slips from my control and flattens me again. How do people maintain living a ‘normal’ life in under the weighted shadow of an uncertain future?

If you might wonder, or haven’t darkened these parts recently, here’s a brief backstory.

I dearly love this person with whom I’ve soldiered through the last twenty years of life, but going forward, it’s been made clear that I have to go it alone, and just as I think I have some purchase on that which vexes me so, the air shifts, and I’m back to square zero. My question, if I were to pose one, and rhetorical as it may be, but how the hell do people navigate a situation such as this? Therapy? Support of friends? Complete isolation? A combination of the three? I sometimes think I would have much rather not experienced a single component of the last two decades if it meant I could avoid spending my every waking hour wandering around in a fog feeling alternately as if at any moment I’m going to burst into tears and scream barf at the exact same time.

Friends- Let me say this, I absolutely, and with every fiber of my being, hate this feeling.

The only consolation to me is that I know about fifteen people who are currently more or less in the exact same boat.

In conclusion, 2019/2020 can eat shit.

Mind you, this of course isn’t to say that all things are terrible. My family and friends is and are mostly healthy, I’m still managing to wring out a living with the AHTBM project, bikes, art, skateboards, and punk rock are all still here.

As a matter of fact, just the other night famed skateboard photographer MoFo (sort of the Gram Watson of skateboard photography) celebrated his 60th birthday in Oakland with an installation of some of his photos, and a performance of his band, (the) Drunk Injuns;

A few folks who have dug in deep around the AHTBM camp for a spell might recall this missive regarding this particular image;

The short version is I vividly remember seeing this photo, and wondering who the hell Bernie was, so it was a treat to snap a shot of the two of them together thirty six years later;

Sadly, I couldn’t stick around to enjoy the musical performance because I didn’t have the $25 to burn, and due to general circumstances, my mood went from stable to not very good in pretty short order. Thankfully, as he generally does, Bernie got some shots for us to feast on;

Now, as I also mentioned, Besides music, bikes and art are both life blood.

Care for a photo off Sean Walling of Soulcraft not riding a Soulcraft?

I’ve got you covered;

And how about a couple shots of Jason Jagel’s current installation at Gallery 16 in the city formerly known as San Francisco?

Well, then here you go;

And finally, could we combine art and bikes, without it being super doucheie?
Most people can’t, but Chris McNally can;

I’ve made threats regarding a collaborative project between the two of us for a couple of years, but that finally looks like it’s in the works.

I wouldn’t tell anyone to hold their breath, but it feels like it might be real this time around.

And finally, because I’ve covered all of the originally mentioned bases but the following, I present to you a slice of a wooden toy;

I don’t know about you, but I feel significantly better than I did when I began banging out today’s jibber jabber, which leads me while there might not be a how-to book for life, perhaps it’s nothing so complicated, but rather, the previously listed items (feel free to add to or subtract from as you see fit) are all that need to exist, and all the rest of the grief, and the periodical crushing lows will eventually fall into space.

The legs of your bookshelf will thank you.

Spread this like it's sick

Leave a Reply

19 Responses to “There’s no how-to book for life.”

  1. Damian February 25, 2020 at 7:08 am #

    Keep kicking at the darkness until it bleeds daylight, Stevil. Some of us need your words as much as you do.

  2. Chipps Chippendale February 25, 2020 at 7:08 am #

    Keep fighting the good fight, matey.
    Beer and gentlemanly hug on me when I see you next…

  3. CD February 25, 2020 at 7:49 am #

    Chris McNally can. And does.

    • dpow February 25, 2020 at 8:59 am #


  4. Raymond Epstein February 25, 2020 at 8:10 am #

    Great post! Drunk Injuns…Gwar before Gwar. Sure did love those first few Skaterock comps. I am pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I’ve lusted after a Soulcraft since they started in ’99, but never have gotten my shit/money together enough to get one. It’s still on my list, but I have to say that I am kinda stoked to see Sean on an Evil, my brand of choice for the last several years.

  5. Bianca February 25, 2020 at 8:12 am #

    therapy, spending time with good friends, and mushrooms have helped me so much. there are no constants in life though and shit will always get to a point of sucking again for a bit, but that’s not permanent either. honestly a mental “reset” is due for me at least once a year…?

  6. Logan February 25, 2020 at 9:07 am #

    This song by Breathe Owl Breathe called Own Stunts reminded me of you.

    I don’t know
    Just because
    I wanna start doing my own stunts
    Tumble down a rocky edge
    Take a bath in a sea of piranhas
    Take off my turtle neck
    Underneath there’s a bulletproof vest
    You never knew what made it though
    Red-breasted crows speak
    Grass stains on my shirt
    It’s all because of her
    It didn’t hurt
    It didn’t hurt
    I’m working on my dive off
    I’m pretty good at flailing my arms
    And jumping off this moving train
    Model airplanes can crash more than once
    Fragile bones and a bird wing suit
    This is not what I’m used to
    Cross my heart and hope to…
    Cross my heart and hope to…
    Mustache covers my lower lip
    No one can tell that I’m tremblin’
    Mustache covers my lower lip
    No one can tell that I’m tremblin’
    I’m standing on the ledge
    I see where I need to land…

    Mustache covers my lower lip
    No one can tell that I’m tremblin’
    Cross my heart and hope to live
    My blood is boilin’
    Mustache covers my lower lip
    No one can tell that I’m tremblin’
    Thinkin’ ’bout settling down
    Thinkin’ ’bout settling in
    What gives?
    I’m walking down the path
    Look down there’s a welcome mat
    Over a trap door
    What’s on the other side?
    The spirit world
    I’m a dark rider
    Silhouette of fire

  7. Devin Curran February 25, 2020 at 1:01 pm #

    #thankypuforsk8boarding ???

    • Devin Curran February 25, 2020 at 1:01 pm #

      Learn to spell ?

  8. Bjorne Toolouse February 25, 2020 at 1:27 pm #

    Read an interview with Richard Hell that makes me think you two could be related.

  9. Gripsgirl February 25, 2020 at 3:50 pm #

    Come on Smith! You got this. It sucks more than anything that’s ever sucked. It’s not how many years really, it’s how much u treasured the time. Can’t control it so just gotta let go of it. Seems impossible right now, but it’s up to u to figure it out. There’s no time limit or quick answer. Get comfy with yourself and get on with it. Embrace the suck cuz it makes things happen. Why it has to work that way, idk. It just does. Gonna be aight…

  10. zonker harris February 25, 2020 at 5:05 pm #

    I just want you to know that I feel better after your posts as well. It’s little solace in the here and now how important this place is to everyone here and how much we rely on you to make us feel better. I’m having real panic with how fucked we all are right now and how we could have allowed ourselves to end up like this. But I just don’t believe we will go down like dogs on our knees. Stay in touch and keep fighting because we need you. As often as we get shit on, a door opens to the outside. Be ready.

  11. Kent Fackenthall February 26, 2020 at 2:52 am #

    “how the hell do people navigate a situation such as this?”

    One sits down, and one shuts up. Not necessarily THE how-to book for life, but the one that worked for me:

    • Phill March 3, 2020 at 8:48 pm #

      Warner is cool, but still: “Anybody who wants me to sit down… and shut up… CAN COME DOWN HERE AND MAKE ME!”
      Hang in there, Stevil. It does suck.

  12. doubt February 26, 2020 at 5:25 am #

    I am late to the party but from my experience of going of leaving the person I spent most of my adult life with; time makes things better. There were a few years where the other person haunted me like a ghost coming back in my memory randomly. I still feel anxious when I think about that time. Anyway it gets better. Don’t become a recluse. Keep up with friends and family. Be healthy.

  13. pilder February 26, 2020 at 5:26 am #

    sisə fisˈēən has always felt more appropriate to me than sisəˈfēən to describe the task at hand. I’m with you.


  14. 2Tough2Die2Stupid2QuitTryin' February 27, 2020 at 8:20 am #

    “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
    ― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

  15. Steve March 1, 2020 at 2:09 am #

    maybe don’t navigate, maybe just see what happens, you can’t always be in charge

  16. michael william westerman March 2, 2020 at 11:09 pm #

    that was a highly enjoyable skate video!
    gonna check out jj’s art show
    missed the mofo thing
    youre better than the express!