Mike Brown’s Heroes

So every time I put out a new Leviathan, which isn't that often, I always seem to neglect my SLUG writing duties. Leviathan #9 drops this month and my lack of focus is no different. So I was thinking ... The last Leviathan was mostly stuff that I wrote for SLUG that didn't make it in. So this month I'm returning the favor to SLUG and its readers by giving you guys a story that will not make it in the next Leviathan. Instead it's my SLUG article! It's a true story about the time I met my favorite skater, Eric Koston.

P.S. The Leviathan Issue # 9 is $2. You should buy one because it comes out on my birthday. I probably gave you a copy of issue #8 for free so don't be cheap.

I hope I never become anyone's hero except maybe my cat. Not because I don't want to be rich and famous, but mostly because of what a fucking letdown it was when I met mine. Not letdown in the sense that he wasn't what I thought he was. My hero was exactly like what I thought he would be like. I was upset with my behavior. Upset that I'll probably be forever engraved in my hero's head as, "That one dude in Salt Lake, what was up with him?"

If my hero got a DUI or something he'd still be my hero. I'm friends with a plenty of drunks that have a DUI (or "Dewy" as I like to call them) or two notched onto their Sunnybrook-smelling belts, and I don't think of them as lesser people, just someone who made a mistake and got popped for it. They are still my friends so my heroes are still my heroes unless they do something really unforgivable, like liking Kobe Bryant or something.

Anyway, the hero that I'm talking about is a pro skater. This happened a couple years ago when I was managing a snowboard shop that sold skateboards in the summer.

It was summer time. I was in charge of the skateboard department, which worked out great, because I love skateboarding. Any-hoo, every once in a while in the summer months random pro-skaters or skate teams would stop by and load up on skate shit that they needed to fulfill their current skateboarding adventures.

Usually it was very gypsy-like. A skate team would roll up in a white van, and mosey in the shop. I'd always be calm and professional offering any type of service that I could to assist them. These services ranged from directions to the skate park, to directions to the titty bar. Sometimes they just needed a good old-fashioned bag of weed.

But mostly when a crew of Pro-Joes would come to the store, they were there to fix up their shred sleds. They'd usually have a team manager with them who would barter the products for them since a lot of times the skaters were socially retarded. Retarded just like anyone else that is, only really, really, really fucking good at one thing and just one thing only. (We all know people like that; think of your weird DJ friend.)

I'd never 'fan out' though. Fanning out is exactly what it sounds like. Basically being a kook by acting all star-stuck and googley-eyed. I understood that for the most part, these guys where just like me: dirty skate kids. They just happened to be really fucking good at it and got paid to do it all day long, all over the world. So what.

But when I found out that my favorite skateboarder, on my favorite skateboard team was coming to our store to stock up on skate stuff, I'll admit, I got a little giddy. I started planning in my head what I could say that wouldn't seem too kook-like.

When the team got there and walked into the shop it was a little surreal. You try to act like it's not, but it is. The rest of the Pro-Joes in the store didn't faze me too much, but when Eric Koston walked in, I was 14 years old all over again (minus the masturbating three times a day.)

I knew that Eric liked basketball. Hey, I like basketball! We could talk about basketball and that wouldn't be weird, right? Since Eric Koston is from L.A., of course he likes the Lakers. Yes, a big character default for me liking someone normally, but fuck dude, it was Eric Koston.

Also keep in mind this was all taking place in the late summertime, right after the great John Stockton had retired and the not-so-great Karl Malone had left the Jazz via free agency to chase a ring with Shaquille O'Neal (the biggest Irish guy I've ever seen) and Kobe Bryant (or butt-raper-Bryant as I like to refer to him.)

So I walk up to Eric Koston, in front of everyone I worked with, and said, "Hey Eric, on behalf of all Jazz fans, I just wanted to say thanks to the Lakers for taking Karl Malone away from us." Eric got this super mean look on his face, starred right at me and said, "FUCK! We didn't ask for him!"

Not exactly the icebreaker I was looking for. I felt a weird sting of rejection similar to when you ask a hot girl out and she's like, "Fuck no!"

Since Eric Koston carries quite a bit of star status clout in the L.A. Area (he was on MTV Cribs, yo!) I figured he knew Kobe Bryant. And this was also the same summer that Kobe got his rape charge.

I figured I had already blew it as far as ever being homies with Eric Koston, so I asked him about it: "Hey so have you talked to Kobe about all that shit that's going down right now? How's he doing?" Eric gave me another piercing look that could cut a concrete cow in half, "FUCK NO! I'm staying away from that shit storm!"

And that was pretty much it. No autograph, no high-five and no spilt drinks. Just a petty reassurance that Lakers fans and Jazz fans can never be friends. No matter how in awe one is of the other.

Now Brett Michaels, that's a hero you can set your watch to! Ask me about the time I met him! It was totally different and I'd totally be his rock of love any day.