Often life throws mud at us. And by mud, I mean crap and by using the term ‘mud’ I am being the kinder, gentler AJ that so few people get to see… At any rate, mud is thrown at us often enough that when life gives us something to laugh about it lessons the impact of the mud, even if for only a minute of time. And quite often at someone else’s expense.
This past weekend there were parties attended, a cake baked, a wife calmed. There were also Fantasy Football drafts, but that is for a later column. What I would like to share with you, the readers, today is something that happened Saturday afternoon at a birthday party for a now nine year old girl. This party was held at a skating rink that didn’t seem to have any air conditioning and that was packed to the gills (yes, gills) with people. There were numerous parties taking place at the same time and there was open skating—not a good combination.
If you will, picture this:
The skate rink looks like a warehouse from the outside, a block structure with parking on all four sides and steel doors painted yellow around the back, which just happens to be where the entrance is. Interestingly, only one of the doors had a handle—clearly the entrance. I worried about the exit door, but once inside I noticed that the exit pushed out, making leaving possible, yet there was still no handle.
Once inside, there was a counter where a woman with dark hair streaked with gray stood. We told her our business there, to which she had me sign my daughter in and then buzzed us through the door. Yes, she buzzed us through with a little black button. There was a loud hum, then a hollow click. We pushed through the door into a semi-dark common area that was teeming with people. The only thing missing was loud music (which there usually is quite a bit of at skating rinks) and a bar serving alcohol and it would have had the same atmosphere as a night club. There were knee high round tables covered in carpet that dotted the common area. People sat on these tables, either putting on or taking off their skates. To our immediate left was a concession counter, divided by a wooden partition that was about waist high. Beyond the concession counter was an eating area. To the right of the door was the skate counter where two men chatted up patrons as they traded their shoes for skates.
Not that you really need to know the exact layout of the place, but I told you this so you would understand that all of this was in a space of about one third of that portion of the building. The other two thirds was the skating area, divided by wooden partitions with benches around the outside. Also, there were benches (carpeted like everything else that was not the skating area) that lined the rink itself. I’m guessing those benches were for tired skaters or their bored parents.
Now, if you’ve skimmed the rest, stop skimming and start reading from here out.
My daughter, Chloe, and her best friend, Antoinette, put on their skates and headed out to the skating area. I am not exaggerating when I say there must have been 50 to 75 folks skating at that time, most of them clearly under the age of ten. Chloe and Antoinette held hands like two kids who couldn’t skate very well and they constantly looked like they were doing the wave. A few times one would fall, pulling the other with her.
At this point I am chatting with a few parents about, well, parenting stuff. I glance away from the conversation to find the girls in the mosh pit of skaters to see this man who was probably in his early to mid-twenties, jump into the air. He does a little spin that wasn’t very graceful and lands on his feet and hurries off. As he skated away he weaved in and out of three and four and five year old children, coming perilously close to several of them.
“Look at this idiot,” I said to one of the mothers.
(Herbie’s note: If you’re an idiot, management makes no apologies for your stupidity)
He raced back around the rink. Just before he reached us, he did another one of those Olympic type leaps, his leg extended, landed and skated on. At this point I thought the dork was going to wack a kid in the head with those heavy skates of his.
(Herbie’s note: If you’re a dork and you know it, we apologize. If you’re a dork and you don’t know it, carry on…)
Before I go much further, let me describe said dork: tall, probably three or four inches north of six foot. This may be due to the skates, but I think the skates just added to his real height. He wore black jeans and a button up shirt, a couple of buttons from the top undone. I guess he was going for that Elvis look, but not nearly as cool. Also, he wore thick black rimmed glasses, shooting for the smart impression. Yeah, he didn’t pull either look off very well.
Now, back to the story. After a couple of times around the oval, I finally noticed why the guy was acting the fool—there was this cute little blonde standing not far from where I was. She may have been twenty-two. She may have been sixteen. She may have been twelve for all I know. With females these days it’s kind of hard to tell. They can be thirteen and look like they’re twenty-three. Now it is clear that Idiot-Dork boy is trying to show off (and not doing a very good job of it).
(Herbie’s note: If you are both an idiot and dork, please get help by calling the IAD hotline at 867-5309. Ask for Jenny.)
We have reached the point in the story where I was getting aggravated. I understand how it is to be a guy and feel the need to puff out my chest and do the whole mating call thing by doing some useless skill that doesn’t—and never will—mean anything in the grand scheme of things. BUT, and I stress the word BUT, when there are children around that could be hurt because someone is being an idiotic dork, well, I tend to believe those folks should be stopped, even if it means me walking out on the skate floor to trip him as he speeds by me. For the record, I did not do that, though I expressed my desire to do so to several of the mothers watching as this unfolded.
On about the fifth or sixth go around, many parents of small children had taken notice of Idiot-Dork boy (who will be referred to as IDB from here out) and had pulled their wee ones off the skate floor. This gave IDB a straight line to build up speed after he completed yet another not so graceful leap, spin and landing.
I looked at one of the moms and said: “Dude needs to fall down.”
(Herbie’s note: the term Dude can be referenced as an infected elephant’s butt hair. Therefor, if you are a dude… eewwww)
As if the skating gods were watching and listening, IDB takes a straight line from one rounded corner to the next. In the process, the toe to his right skate catches the heel to his left.
The only thing that was missing was the cape as IDB turned into Superman and literally flew through the air, hands out in front of him.
He hit the floor, bounced a couple of times and came to a stop on his side. He rolled over, lay there for a good thirty seconds or so. Most of those still skating just went on by him as if he weren’t there. Several of us cheered. Many more of us laughed and clapped. I did all three. I know, it’s mean.
IDB picked himself up and skated slowly off the floor, his head down. He looked as if he had just been scolded by his mom. I guess that’s sad, especially since little Miss Blonde sixteen year old giggled and walked away.
Maybe there was humiliation on that warm Saturday in August when IDB took flight and did not have a perfect three point landing. But, afterwards, the children did skate without fear of catching a skate to the side of the head. I would like to think that IDB is a changed man, that maybe the blonde felt pity for him and cheered him up later on. Nah… I doubt it.
The moral of this story is apparently I have the power to make people fall down by just saying it. Hmmm… I wonder if I really do have that ability or if I actually need to knock them down. I should test this theory out…