In a storage room on the top floor of one of the Smithsonian's fortresslike buildings, a legendary athlete is playing with artificial hearts. Forty-eight-year-old Rodney “Mutt” Mullen, who revolutionized skateboarding as a teen, first twists apart the plastic ventricles of a Jarvik-7 that once beat inside the chest of an Arizona man. He then moves on to inspect a 64-year-old heart pump composed of Erector Set parts, a gadget that a Yale medical student cobbled together for less than 25 bucks.
“Oh man, oh man, Erector Sets made me who I am!” Mullen tells the Smithsonian curators who invited him to Washington, DC, to explore their collections. “When I was a kid I had a double-decker bed, and I had this whole idea of using pulleys to get everything up to me on the top. And so the way I had it, I had strings going all over the place, controlling the light switches and everything through a command center, and I did all that with Erector Sets. My parents, they would leave me dinner on a tray so I wouldn't have to stop building.”
Mullen becomes even more effusive as his VIP tour continues. Objects such as a Civil War surgical kit and a vintage pacemaker inspire him to riff on topics ranging from the information-sharing practices of Native American tribes to the algorithms that astronomers use to locate quasars. His digressions lapse into incoherence at times—blank stares abound, for example, when he utters the phrase “the ones and zeros of the synaptic idiom” while describing how skateboarders learn their acrobatic tricks. But the curators are mostly dazzled by Mullen's intellectual dexterity, an unexpected trait in a man who has smashed face-first into concrete countless times.
Late night shot of @rodneymullen in the warehouse 📷by: @jgrantbrittain for Rodney's new Wired interview. Check out the new Wired magazine or hit the link on our profile for the web version! / WARNING: require a lot of reading, but is a good one 😜🙏👊 HaveFunSkateEverything #AlmostSkateboards
Good Morning! Starting the day right with some @daewon1song DD Coffee!
Board Graphic by: @streetwolf
@daewon1song had one hell of a year!! Congrats again Dae on being named @berrics #Populist2014 Winner! Here's a clip of him continuing the fun😜 If you haven't yet, head over to theberrics.com and check out the 10 Years of Daewon Song video 😳😳😳 Film by: @Cruzing Beat from: @tlebronthedon
Go to @berrics website and check out a little edit of Lewis Marnell and this very limited run memorial deck we did to celebrates the life of one of the greatest people, and greatest skateboarders on the planet. #LewisMarnellForever
All proceeds will go to the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation. Art by Lewis's brother, @JMarnell Available at theberrics.com/canteen
@younessamrani having some fun with the @smlwheels homies in the new episode of Almost Famous #27 on @ridechannel
Click the profile link for the full episode🍻👊 #HaveFunSkateEverything #AlmostSkateboards 🎥 @sml_aaron
#FuckYeah @daewon1song on a well deserve @berrics #Populist2014 You are a true inspiration to us all 🙌🍻 #HellOfABerricsYear #ThePeopleChoise Thanks everyone for voting and supporting this legendary ninja! #YourVoteCounted🙏👊 HaveFunSkateEverything #AlmostSkateboards Photo: @1katiedoll 🙌
Congrats @daewon1song on a well deserved @berrics #Populist2014 You are a true inspiration to us all🙌🍻 #HellOfABerricsYear #ThePeopleChoise Thanks everyone for voting and supporting this legendary ninja! #YourVoteCounted🙏👊 #HaveFunSkateEverything #AlmostSkateboards Photo:@seutrinh
New Haslam (@waywardnephew) “Snakes” #ImpactDouble 😜
/ 8.5" x 32.1”
#HaveFunSkateEverything #AlmostSkateboards #SupportYourLocalSkateshop
Today is the last day to vote, don't forget to give @daewon1song some love 🙏#Populist2014
Click the link on our profile or go to TheBerrics.com Every vote count!✔️ 🍻👊 HaveFunSkateEverything #AlmostSkateboards @chaseingabor @berrics🙌
#FishOutOfWater 🐟🎣 @mitchiebrusco84 cruising around @berrics 😜 #HaveFunSkateEverything #AlmostSkateboards
Congrats @thefluff X @nikesb on another amazing book!🍻🔥🔥📖 #fluff1826
#AngryBird @younessamrani 😜
Haslam @waywardnephew and @daewon1song messing around😳😳😜 filmed by:@ronniecreager 🙌 @djrunaway_ On the stop sign😂
Don't forget to click the link on our profile or go to TheBerrics.com to give Daewon some love with your #Populist2014 vote! Last day to vote is tomorrow🍻🙏👊
Thanks @idea562 for hooking up the amazing Lewis stencil on the @grizzlygriptape @toreypudwill donated for the #LewisMarnellForever celebration 🙏❤️💛💚👊 @nikesb @nikesbau @berrics 🙏👊#OneLove
A few clips of @Daewon1Song from the last 3 projects he did with @berrics😳 Click the link on our profile or go to TheBerrics.com and give Daewon some love with your Populist
vote! 🍻🙏👊 #Populist2014 #HaveFunSkateEverything #AlmostSkateboards Clips film by:@chaseingabor
Thanks to everyone that was able to make it last night to celebrate the life of our brother @lewismarnell with his family at @berrics❤️💛💚 (top left the mural @jmarnell painted of Lew, top right @djrunaway_ Killing it, bottom @nikesb, @nikesbau And Almost team together with Lewis family from Australia and Sweden.
#LewisMarnellForever #OneLove #TooManyPeopleToTag🙏👊 photo: @seutrinh and @rickyplancich
#LewisMarnellForever Laser burn boards to display tonight at @berrics ❤️💛💚🙏 Today marks the 2 yr anniversary of our friend and brother @lewismarnell passing. Tonight we are having a special event to celebrate his life at the @berrics with @nikesb, friends, family and fans of Lewis. 6pm to 10pm Hope to see you there🙏
Creativity? @daewon1song always in another level!! @berrics #Populist2014 polls are open now, give Dae some love with your vote🙏👊 #AlmostSkateboards #HaveFunSkateEverything