Rusty Ockenden: On Sex and Shampooing

Author: Robjn Taylor

Now, here is an interview that, on the one hand, will surely address the cleaning regime of its subject’s homely hairdo, and yet on the other hand, will truly help you understand who Rusty Ockenden is on such a deeply meaningful level that you will likely name all of your children after him.

When I first met Rusty, his legs were much skinnier, his Amped 2 world ranking much higher, and his most mature quality was his insistence that one be able to “save” one’s friends in a game of Danger Ass. Then the world blinked and Rusty played Danger Ass no more. I remember the day, it was foggy, and I told him to try some of the cheesecake that I had just baked with my hands. He replied, “Don’t tell me what to do.” And it was then that I knew he was a man. A man who would be eat- ing cheesecake henceforth, on his terms only.

Years later, he has the nerves of a hard-boiled detective and the unruly mortgage of a real-life human. He has accumulated a wealth of advice that he could swim in, Scrooge McDuck-style, if anyone cared to know. But they don’t, and they shouldn’t.

Why? Because his advice is awful. It’s the advice of an experienced person who has no agenda other than to be honest and to communicate something genuine, and so you know it’s just the worst.

He’s sitting with me now, accidentally leaking wisdom out of his pores while eating a poutine with a hornet in it. Maybe it’s a wasp. We’re sitting in the corner of this weird garden thing in Tofino, a small town on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, which is known in Canada for its surfing and its aggressive sea lions, who, one time, inconvenienced a surfer so much that he had to paddle into shore and complain about it. So it goes.

Rusty is reluctant to give the advice he knows nobody wants to hear, so instead I’m going to ask him what he would tell himself at 17 years old if he had the means to go back and do so. But first, he is telling me about his hair:

Rusty: Once it gets to this state, the state that it’s in now, I don’t have to wash it, I don’t have to cut it, and it doesn’t change. It’s like it’s maxed out. It won’t get any longer, and it just gets... how it is.

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