Dangerous Compassions

Animal Chin

My favorite movie when I was a young person was Bones Brigade 3: the Search for Animal Chin.  It’s a skateboarding movie.  The whole thing is a quest to find this missing skate master Animal Chin.

Or the whole thing is a bunch of footage of skateboarding, stitched together with the plot device of a quest.  A theme throughout the movie is “Have you seen him?”  It came out in 1987, when I was 10 and 11 years old.  I’m guessing I saw it about ten times, over the preteen and teen years.

Funny because my other favorite movie was Labyrinth–a quest movie also, about a kid trying to recover her stolen baby brother.  Also empowering, spiritual, meaningful!

And I read Dragonlance books as a preteen and teenager, until the paperbacks were soft and feathery from being read 20 times.  Those colorfully-covered paperbacks my best friend and I bought from the bookstore in the mall.  We would loan books to each other also, and read to each other out loud.

At night, my dreams were often quest dreams, hiking through the forest with some elves and dwarves to find something–a treasure?  Information?  A special being?  We never actually found what we were looking for.  So my imagination, day and night, was filled with quests.

vegan cookies

Years ago in Sacramento, probably about nine years ago, Ming and I went to the popup near a store.  We heard some vegan cookies would be for sale, so we stopped by.  I remember some wildly delicious vegan cookies: chocolate chip lavender.  Wow, knocked my socks off!

But I met this guy who was a skateboarder, a friend of Ming’s.  It was our first and only time meeting, that I recall.  On his skateboard, I saw a sticker that said, “Have you seen him?” and had a picture of an Asian guy in a hat.

“Is that Animal Chin?” I asked.  I felt really curious–so curious, I was uncomfortable.

“Yes–have you seen him?” this guy asked me.

I just about died laughing, inside.  Ming’s friend was treating me as if I might have seen the great skate master Animal Chin and could show the way.  He was taking the joke far from 1987, far from my childhood on the coast of California, far from the domain of my brother–the VHS tape movie belonged to him.

This friend of Ming was doing me a great service.  By asking if I’d seen Animal Chin, he was demonstrating that knowledge is not only held by abled, white men–knowledge can be held by anyone, including me, a disabled, fat woman who’s never done an ollie in her life.

Or maybe he was just going for a laugh.  But I remember that moment, though it was nine years ago.

seen the movie

No, I have not seen Animal Chin, but I have seen the movie!  Then recently I was talking to a friend who I’ve known for 13 years or so, and for some reason I mentioned that Bones Brigade’s Search for Animal Chin was my favorite movie when I was a kid.

That was wild because that had been my friend’s favorite movie too.  He had the tape and watched it over and over also.  Wild.  A joy, for both of us, though he was in a different part of California and a boy and actually skateboarded.  I never did.  But there was a half-pipe in my backyard for some time.

prayer cards

For fun, I made these prayer cards–I wrote a prayer to Animal Chin, for safe and skilled skateboarding, and laid the cards out like funeral prayer cards.  And our favorite printers will print them.

So let me know if you would like one of these, which is a rather niche desire I guess, but some people would be overjoyed.  Here a soundcloud of me reading the prayer poem.

petition to Animal Chin 

for skilled, safe skateboarding

Oh revered Animal Chin, 

protector of skateboarders everywhere, 

please bless us to skate with grace 

and avoid calamitous injury.  

Please guide us as we sail upon sidewalks,

drop into the bowl, slide on railings, 

ollie, flip kick, and twist.  

Please protect us as we trespass 

and make impervious to harm

our knees, elbows, shoulders, and skulls.  

We welcome you to our sacred skate gang always.  

Thank you for showing us the way 

with your legendary inventive boldness.  

We love you, wherever you are.

Oh missing master, 

truly we have seen you, in our hearts.


animal chin

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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