I was obsessed with the “Dogtowners,” a band of raffish, pot smoking, wildly gifted skaters from Santa Monica and Venice. I studied their pictures in Skateboarder, noting not only their knock-knees and splayed fingers, but also their facial expressions. Tony Alva pursed his lips. Stacy Peralta edged his tongue out of his mouth. When Mom offered to buy us back-to-school clothes, I flipped through the Dogtown articles and made a list: oversized Pendleton with red checks, Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax T-shirt, low slung Levi’s cords, tube socks bunched at the ankles, two-tone Vans deck shoes. After shopping at the Oaks mall, I took my new gear out to the backyard and grinded it against the pavement to make it look more “Dogtownerish.” I drew Dogtown crosses on my notebooks and my desk at school. I drew imaginary Dogtown crosses on my thigh with my index finger. I read about the elfin “Jay-Boy” Adams’s death-defying trick in which he skates at full speed up to the moving Pacific Ocean Park bus, skids into an extended Bert that literally throws his lithe, horizontal body under the bus, then snaps his board around seconds before the rear wheels crush him.