April 14, 2003

To Boldly Go Where Bold

To Boldly Go Where Bold People Go

I'm a chickenshit on rollerblades. I'm not sure why, exactly, but I am.

Melissa loves to rollerblade, so I, as a good boyfriend, decided to take up the maddening pastime. I mean, it seems easy enough. You take roller skating and combine it with ice skating. How hard can it be? Pretty damned hard, let me tell you.

I actually bought my own pair of rollerblades when Mel and I first started dating last fall, an expensive purchase that left me wondering why I should even bother dating in the first place. Mel suggested I buy a brand called K2, which frankly sounded like a new brand of dog food to me, but I bought them anyway. They cost about $300. I had never before spent that much money for something that goes on my feet. I'll easily pony up the dough for a better brand of beer, but footwear has always been something that I don't normally spend vast amounts of money on. They're just feet, after all. Why fucking bother?

I like to think that I was getting better with rollerblades before I put them away for the winter. I like to think that because I like to think I'm great at everything. But, I'm not great on rollerblades. I'm not even good on rollerblades. I'm not even all that fair on rollerblades. fuck it. I suck on rollerblades.

It's frustrating, really, because here I am, a guy who can hold a perfect side-kick for five minutes, balancing on one foot. But, put me on a pair of rollerblades, and I immediately look like a newborn calf trying to stand for the first time. I'll strap them on, stand up, and suddenly I'm frantically waving my arms as if I'm trying to fly and, quite frankly, there's a better chance that I'll eventually take wing than of me becoming good on rollerblades.

To be truthful, rollerblading isn't all that difficult. Gravity pretty much does all the work for you. If you aim yourself down a hill, the wheels will do most of the work. I may not look all that graceful doing it, but I guess it's considered rollerblading. The trick for me, and by trick I mean the impossible part, is stopping. I just CAN'T stop. I have literally jumped into a grassy lawn to stop myself from rolling down steep hills.

The rollerblade stopping mechanism consists of what amounts to an eraser stuck to the back of one blade. Theoretically, you stop by pushing down your heel on the eraser. Only, you don't stop. You just halt yourself from going any faster, with the added benefit of putting yourself even more off balance than you were previously. The heel eraser braking method does not work. It is simply an evil myth put forth by the makers of rollerblades so they can make their product sound as if it's safe. I have left long black eraser streaks down a hill 3/4 of a mile long, and I never even come close to stopping.

Instead, I've adopted a stopping method by which I drag one blade behind the other. This is only slightly more effective than the heel brake, with the added benefit of totally losing my balance while at the same time grinding my wheels down to the size of Matchbox car wheels. Plus, after dragging my blade behind me for 3/4 of a mile, I still haven't stopped. So, it's truly a brilliant method.

Aside from the difficulties, I do enjoy rollerblading, even though I'm resigned to the fact that I'll eventually fall down, hit my head, and lapse into a coma for seven years. It's a fun way to get around, and it is great exercise, particularly when I'm trying to go up a hill the size of Everest.

But I sure wish I could learn how to stop. That would be sweet.

UPDATE: Layne hasn't disappeared or anything. She's just doing some sort of blog spring cleaning. I think she changes her blog more than her underwear, but that's just a guess. Mmmmmmm, Layne's underwear. *grgglgllgggllgl*

UPDATE: Amish Tech Support has moved. Don't miss it. His blog is so cool, particularly his comment engine.

UPDATE: For those of you who can't get enough war coverage, you simply MUST bookmark the Command Post. It has been my bread and butter since Day 1. You also can't top the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, for timely news with a dash of humor. Yes, Glenn Reynolds, the man, the myth, MOAB (Master Of All Bloggers).

Posted by Ryan at April 14, 2003 12:07 PM
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