It's easy, just do exactly what the "New York Times" tells you.
The Times is notorious for being mind-bogglingly out of touch when it comes to anything that could be remotely considered "counter culture" (to put it in their lingo), but these two articles are the journalistic equivalent of me attempting to write about the migration habits of the Bar-tailed Godwit in Sanskrit. Let's examine the paper of record's model of a "not-silly" skateboarder.
RIDE A LONGBOARD
The article starts: "You're not a street kid anymore, so try a longboard with big soft wheels for easy cruising and carving." I wouldn't say that people who ride longboards should be euthanized, but the culture that longboards have spawned could certainly be wiped off the face of the Earth and no one would care. Right? Blame it on the gloved herd of Bustin riders in Union Square or Sector 9, but longboarding has always been skateboarding's Peter Criss.
WEAR A HELMET
This one starts with: "Don't forget the helmet. If it's cool enough for Tony Hawk it's cool enough for you." By that line of reasoning, we are also all cool enough to be stuck inside of a McDonald's Happy Meal and serve as a human spittoon for Duane Peters. (Yes, I realize I'm linking to a video on Tony Hawk's site. The guy is unavoidable.) For better or worse, this is a universally acknowledged truth in skateboarding: Unless you're skating vert (or transition in general if you're over 40), you cannot wear a helmet. It just isn't allowed. Helmets are clunky and hot and they make your head look like the top of a penis. Sorry, thems are just the facts.
ALSO, WEAR ASS PADS
"Your rump may have bulked up, but you'll thank yourself for the extra protection. Crash Pads makes a line of padded underwear." If you feel the need to wear padded underwear for skating—or any activity for that matter—just don't do that activity. Simple.
DRESS LIKE THE PEOPLE IN THAT HEATH LEDGER MOVIE
Just kidding, he doesn't actually say that. He does, however, recommend you channel "the Z-Boys with an old-school 'Dogtown' logo hoodie," which, coming from the author, is really just another way of saying "dress like the people in that Heath Ledger movie."
WATCH THAT HEATH LEDGER MOVIE
I knew he'd figure out a way to work it in there. For inspiration, Alex suggests watching "Lords of Dogtown, the 2005 film starring Heath Ledger." Is everyone watching Hollywood blockbusters featuring glistening shirtless hunks making grilled cheese sandwiches by the pool (I'm guessing that's what happens?) before going skating these days? Am I behind the curve on this one?
LEARN FROM SOME GUY WHO USED TO SKATE AT SEA WORLD
"A total beginner? Get a copy of "Skateboarding Explained: The Instructional DVD" by Dan MacFarlane." I have nothing to say about Dan that he doesn't say about himself on his website: "My recent NASA Space Center demo event really reminded me of when I used to do demos at Sea World. Here's an old Sea World Ad featuring me doing an Indy Grab. Note the Formula One deck… I was riding for them at the time. I will also be uploading a video from Sea World soon! It also features Darryl Grogan, and Dennis Martin."
God, I hate skateboarding.