I used to be able to roller skate. In fact, I even took lessons once upon a time, at the Congressional Roller Rink in Rockville, Maryland, which has been gone, gone, gone for many many years. Unfortunately, I was never very good at it.
Skip ahead about 15 years -- roller skating became quite the fad in the 70s. I was in college, and several of my pals took up the sport. They'd head for the parking garage next to the student union, head up to the top level, strap on their skates, and roll around and around all the way down to the lowest level. I was envious of this daredeviltry, but I was way too chicken to try it out.
One night we all went to a roller rink, where I did try to skate. I failed miserably, so miserably that a lot of the regular skaters used me as a push-off pole. I stumbled around a bit and then called it a night.
Fast forward to last weekend. We all got out of the Weetabus and headed into the rink for our private skating party. I conveniently forgot about my roller skating past, laced up my rented skates, and headed out to the floor. There I picked and lurched and inched my way around the rink, holding on to the wall for dear life.
There were lots of folks there who could skate. Some could skate really really really well, like the lovely and talented Shawn, who is in training with the Angel City Derby Girls, and my own personal savior, Sean B, who took pity on me, grabbed my hands, and skated me the rest of the way to the gate.
He was perfectly willing to continue to help me get my skating legs under me, and said, "Okay, first we go with two hands, then one, then you'll be able to go on your own."
I, however, know my limitations, even if I did ignore them at first. I got to the gate and thanked my benefactor profusely, releasing him to skate as he was meant to skate.
Then I slid down the ever-so-slight incline to the rest area and promptly fell directly on my ample ass.
Joe, though, did great! He made it around eight times!