Badelaire has a great little blog post wherein he argues that OD&D class abilities, hit points and so on are, in fact, skills -- albeit not codified as percentile chances etcetera. And you know what?
I can dig it.
My appreciation for the older rules grows by steps, and part of me wonders -- has everything in game design since then been an unnecessary refinement, too much effort put into something that should have stayed simple and sweet?
That part of me shuts up pretty quickly, though, because I don't really believe that. I like reading rulebooks too much. However, the question does get pretty close to what my blog is (ostensibly) about: unlearning what you've learned that you may reach the simple truths.
I'm still conflicted about thief skills, though. Abstracting exploration and experimentation is damn handy, but it's potentially less flavorful and less chllenging. I like that whole "I'll look under the bed -- carefully, though, slowly lifting the bedskirt with my dagger, ready to jump back at the first sign of movement" approach to playing the game.
And now, for no damn good reason: