Guest Column by Mark Surrel
A revolutionary vehicle has hit the American market, inspiring giddy adoration among the masses.
It is a remake of a familiar classic, but the new compact design and distinct shape makes this product something wholly unique. High grade aluminum, a rainbow choice of colors, and a low sticker price put hundreds of thousands of units on the road in the first year it was produced.
I’m not talking about the Volkswagen New Beetle; rather, I’m talking about the ephemeral J.D. Razor Scooter.
The summer of 1999 was bliss. My mother, returning from a business trip in California, had brought with her a gift: a brand new J.D. Razor scooter, the first on the block. Like a true Christmas in July, I tore open the packaging, assembled my new chariot, (a feat which took only seconds thanks to the new quick release latch) and hit the streets.
I named my scooter “J.D.” and soon we became the best of friends. His easily foldable structure allowed me to take him wherever I went. I showed him off to everyone.
We were inseparable and, for a time, it was good. But the weather-battered Marquette streets were hard on his translucent polyurethane wheels and, in a generation of angst-filled, skateboarding 90’s kids, I didn’t fit in.
I hung up my Razor in lieu of an Alien Workshop skateboard; I learned to do a kick-flip and never looked back.
The hype of the Razor was gone in a flash, and this brilliant feat of engineering joined the furby, Tomagatchi, and a truckload of Beanie babies on the Island of misfit ‘90s toys. But I’ve noticed something strange lately: scooters have returned.
They’re back and more popular than ever. Hoards of kids roam the streets riding their scooters like the prepubescent bike gang from “Jumanji.” What was once considered effeminate and inefficient is now the means of middle school tranportation.
Did America’s youth finally wake up and realize the carefree joy that a kick scooter can bring or is this all just a symptom of the highly infectious “Bieber Fever.”
Either way, I don’t care. I’m just glad that a fine product like the scooter has finally been given the respect that it deserves. What other vehicle can give you the rippling calves of an Olympic runner and the impact-hardened shins of a Muay Thai master at the same time?
I have a piece of advice for all the youngsters out there currently riding a scooter. If you’re looking for entertainment, consider a sport. Soccer’s not bad, and rock-climbing is extremely fulfilling.
If you’re looking to impress the ladies, write them a poem, or learn an instrument. And if you’re just looking to get from A to B, then ride a bike. These are much simpler ways of achieving your goals, and the simplest way is usually the best way.
That’s the Razor you should be riding. But if you truly love your scooter like I do and the gentle glide down Third Street makes you feel like a motorcyclist on the open road, then join me in ushering in a new era of scoot.
We can show people that a scooter is not just a flamboyantly extravagant means of impractical transportation, or a bulky aluminum noise-maker for garden-variety stunts. It can also be fun.
Just remember to always wear your helmets.