A frame grab from the video Learning to Wheelie at 49 years old by Van Neistat

Van Neistat’s latest video about popping wheelies mixed Cherub Rock with learning new skills and pushed his storytelling into a new era. Watching Van’s work evolve beyond influences into his own style reminds me of the small, often unnoticed thresholds in our lives.

After a certain age, we stop noticing developmental milestones—babies' first word, crawling, walking. Oh, and there are some we don’t celebrate—the unpleasant ones—the first lie, vomit, and, my favourite, the first profanity.

I’ll never forget my eldest swearing for the first time; she was three years old and playing with plastic pots in the courtyard. A gentle crash was followed by “Ah, shit.” I ducked my head out the door and, with a face full of curiosity, asked, “What was that?” Without skipping a beat, the reply came, “I said shit,” as she gestured at the plastic pots scattered on the ground.

The emotion that followed was kaleidoscopically new. Pride: My daughter used ‘shit’ perfectly! Mixed with shame, her delivery and inflections left no doubt about who she learned it from. Peppered with horror, I wondered how I would constructively teach my kids the nuances of swearing without the soap, pepper, and hot sauce punishments of the past.

We both crossed a threshold out in the courtyard that afternoon. My kids and I will have a whole life filled with unspoken milestones: the first swear, new emotions, and maybe one of us will learn to pop wheelies or find a style distinctly our own.

Previously: TGIM 53 - The energy I’m pouring into the tank of my car is only ‘fuel’ when considered over a short timeframe; on much longer timescales, it’s like solar storage. A massive, Earth-sized battery charged by sunlight and biology over millions of years.


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