CARLSBAD – Angry shouting, U2 songs, dreadlocks, frightened Republicans, and the faint aroma of marijuana. These are all things one could reasonably expect at a good old fashioned American protest. What one would not expect is for the crowd of college dropouts to be comprised entirely of skateboarders, BMX bikers, snowboarders, climbing wall instructors, and Razor scooter riders. Yet that is exactly what was to be seen outside North Shore Baptist church in Carlsbad, California, last Wednesday evening.
In a departure from their notoriously laid-back, near-catatonic demeanor, a passionate yet mostly indifferent coalition of action sport enthusiasts and Mountain Dew junkies gathered in the NSB parking lot to protest the attempts of fundamental Christians to uphold the traditional spelling of Christmas.
The word “Christmas”, which North Shore Baptist used frequently when advertising Wednesday night’s 1st and 2nd grade Christmas Pageant, has for decades been used to designate the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, which scholars conclude occurred sometime around 6:45 in the morning on the 25th of December.
Professional wakeboarder Brody “Bro D” Hooper doesn’t see it that way. He and his fellow protestors consider the use of the word “Christmas” to be part of an aggressive Christian effort to “take the extreme out of Xmas.”
“Think about what Xmas means,” says Hooper. “First, you have ‘X’ which basically means awesome. Then you have ‘mas’ which I think is Japanese for ‘more’. So basically you have a holiday that’s called ‘more awesome’. How gnarly is that? And Christmas means what? More Chris? Who the ‘f’ is Chris and why do we need more of him? That’s all we’re trying to say.”
Other participants in the demonstration, which was sponsored by DC Shoes and Jeep Liberty, echoed Hooper’s sentiments.
“Just look at all the rad stuff that starts with X,” implored amateur surfer and former Switchfoot roadie Colby Jones. “The X-Games, X-Men, Xhibit, the XFL, X-rated movies…tons of stuff.”
Jones went on to inform me that he was under the influence of Ecstasy – a popular party drug commonly known as ‘X’ – and that it too was “the raddest thing ever.”
Others in attendance made reference to other facets of the holiday that “kick monstrous amounts of ass” including presents, cookies, no school, fresh powder, and peppermint schnapps.
“Xmas is uhhh, uhhh, my favorite uhhh, uhhh, uhhh day uhhhhhhhhh ever,” said Spooks “Stink Eye” Henderson, a homeless man who makes his living breakdancing for change on the Venice Beach boardwalk. “Sup to me, I’d prolly call it ‘Free Turkey Day’ or sumpin like dat. Far as dis whole ‘Chrizmas’ thing goes, well I don’t know. Maybe you should juz go head and Chris my ass.”
For their part, the North Shore parishioners tried to ignore the mostly shirtless crowd. A few could not resist the temptation of complimentary Monster energy drinks but most lost interest after it was determined that Shaun White was not in attendance. Rev. Stanley Moore, Lead Pastor at North Shore, declined to comment, but was overheard muttering something about “pumpkin pie haircutted freaks” as he left the parking lot in his Lexus.
While it does not appear the demonstration had any measurable effect, Bro D has vowed to continue the fight, potentially as soon as Sunday – depending on the snow at Big Bear. As he and his apathetically bearded cohorts packed up and prepared to return to their normal lives of ripping, shredding, grinding, blasting, chilling, raging, and getting barreled, Mr. Hooper made one final plea to those who cling to the traditional spelling of Christmas.
“Listen, I understand that you’ve never stood up on a wakeboard. I know that bikes with multiple gears confuse you. I’m cool with it. Do your thing. Live your life. Drive your mini-vans, drink your diet sodas, ride your rollerblades, whatever. Just don’t cut the balls off the sickest holiday in town. I don’t mess with your Easter, why you gotta mess with my Xmas? That’s all I’m trying to say.”
And say it he has.