While on a visit to the White House for a Father's Day celebration, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk managed to sneak a little skating within the White House itself. He later posted a picture of this executive branch shredding on Twitter, setting off a predictable avalanche of '@TonyHawk: DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!' tweets in response.
Although he received permission from White House staff before the stunt, this incident did provoke a negative reaction from some commentators. Noted moron Greg Gutfeld, of Fox's Red Eye, actually cried a little when he described the great shame he felt that Tony Hawk would be allowed to skateboard in the White House "while all this Iranian crap is going down." What Tony Hawk has to do with the events occurring in Iran is beyond me, but I'd suggest we not prevent him from skating, because if he's going to be any help to the Iranian people at all, it will be while he is on a skateboard, doing something awesome.
Even though several celebrities did die following this incident, possibly because of shame at having their nation's seat of power defaced, I'm sort of coming down on the other side of this issue. My thinking is that if I invited Tony Hawk to my home, I'd be offended if he didn't do a little skateboarding. You want to grind my coffee table, Mr. Hawk? You go right ahead, sir. I hate that damned coffee table.
Why is my table out in the rain you ask? It knows what it did.
In his Twitter feed, Tony Hawk was unrepentant, pointing out that he caused no damage. Technically, he did less harm than the time Elvis clogged the White House toilet, an event I just made up right now, but which sounds plausible enough to be true. Hawk did little more than skate in a straight line down a well-trafficked hallway and perform a Manual, a simple trick which would involve no chance of damaging the property. Unless I was doing it, in which case I would almost certainly obliterate my teeth and a nearby vase of some importance.
But if we take as given that a Manual is an acceptable trick to perform while skateboarding in the White House, does that mean there are unacceptable tricks? Are they unacceptable because of their chance for causing damage, or their potential for freaking out squares? Using Google Image Search and the knowledge of skateboarding I earned from a semester playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, I've ranked the following White House skateboarding tricks in terms of difficulty and offensiveness to the American spirit--as measured in weeping bald eagles.
#7. Lincoln Bedroom
Trick: Ollie to Heelflip to Nosegrind across back of slipper chair (foreground) to Kickflip.
Offensiveness to the American Spirit: 4 Weeping Bald Eagles
This one can be done at low speed and follows the basic kickflip to grind to kickflip combo that is the bread and butter of the Tony Hawk games. Although the great emancipator never lived to see the invention of skateboards, historians widely agree he would be appreciative of technical street skating in this form.
#6. White House Bowling Alley
Trick: Ollie to Pop Shove It to Tailslide (right rail) to Ollie to Kickflip to Tailslide (left rail) to Ollie to Hardflip to Feeble (right rail) to Kickflip to Nosegrind (right rail) to Heelflip into bowling pins.
Offensiveness to the American Spirit: 1 Weeping Bald Eagle
Famously constructed during the Nixon presidency, the bowling alley is one of the homeliest rooms in the world. Located in the basement, it seems an ideal location for skating. Getting speed is easily done, and nothing of value is here to be disturbed, aside from Nixon's ghost, whom White House staff assure is harmless, if foul-mouthed.
#5. Rose Garden
Trick: While dressed as Spiderman, Ollie to 360 Melon over the President during a summertime event.
Offensiveness to the American Spirit: 8 Weeping Bald Eagles
A fairly straightforward trick, complicated by having to hope that Secret Service personal don't interfere with a man in pajamas hurtling towards the Commander in Chief.
#4. Situation Room
Trick: A Nose Manual across the briefing table
Offensiveness to the American Spirit: 5 Weeping Bald Eagles
This is the room where the President and his senior advisers are kept up to speed on events rapidly unfolding around the world, like military actions or NASCAR races. It's in the basement, which means vertical space is limited. Although nothing within the room is terribly historical or symbolic, security is very tight, so pulling off any trick in here could be deeply embarrassing and cause the U.S. to lose face in front of the Russians.
#3. Grand Staircase
Trick: Wallride to Bluntside (on banister) to Ollie to Tailgrab to SMASH THE CHANDELIER!!!!
Offensiveness to the American Spirit: 0 Weeping Bald Eagles
Although this staircase is used regularly for formal White House gatherings and ceremonies, chandeliers are a decidedly French invention, so their destruction is considered a positive benefit for the American Spirit.
#2. Oval Office
Trick: Nose Manual to MANUAL THE PRESIDENTIAL SEAL!!!! to Ollie to Overcrook (on Resolute desk) to Ollie to Varial Heelflip to STOMP THE PRESIDENTIAL SEAL!!!!
Offensiveness to the American Spirit: 9 Weeping Bald Eagles
Not a lot to work with in the Oval Office, given its odd shape and lack of grindable edges. Disrespecting the Presidential Seal twice in one combo is probably the savviest play here, but advanced skaters/anarchists might want to work in a wallride across the portrait of Washington on the back wall somehow. Historians agree Washington was an old man, and would have hated skateboarders.
#1. The Whole Shebang
Trick: Starting in the Jacqueline Kennedy Ceremonial Garden, face towards the East Wing and get a huge amount of speed. Ollie to Wallride to Ollie to Wallride to Ollie to Nosegrind across the roof edge of the East Colonnade. From there, Ollie to Manual on the roof, hit the secret Dan Quayle quarter pipe to the roof of the Executive Residence. Grind along the roof of the Executive Residence, knocking down Secret Service Snipers. On the far side, Ollie down to the West Colonnade, landing in a Manual. Ollie to a grind on the edge of the roof of the West Wing until you reach the roof above the Oval Office. Jump onto the oddly textured spot in the middle of the roof to crash down into the Oval Office, stomping the Presidential Seal, again. Shake hands with the President to complete the trick.
Offensiveness to American Spirit: 100 Weeping Bald Eagles
Completing this trick will require much practice and a bit of luck, but if correctly pulled off, will prod Congress into renaming Flag Day into Tony Hawk Day.