Passing the Torch
By: Shannon Ralph
I just got out of the shower. This is not, in itself, a very blog-worthy event as I usually take a shower most days. As a matter of fact, today I took two. One before IT happened and one after IT happened.
For the third time in recent months, I accompanied my daughter to a roller skating rink. Today, it was for a friend’s birthday party. And for the third time in recent months, I put on skates and confidently rolled myself right out onto the wooden rink. Unlike the other two times, however, today I did a graceful nose-dive onto that same wooden rink.
Prior to the past few months, I had not been on roller skates since I was probably twelve years old. Back in the day, I considered myself somewhat of a roller skating phenom. I could skate fast. I could skate backwards. I could spin. I could jump. I could do the hokey pokey and turn myself around. Skating was what it was all about.
One would think that skating would be akin to riding a bike. Once you learn, you never forget how to do it. Right? One would think this, but one would be dead wrong. Believe it or not, thanks in no small part to my ginormous D cups, my center of gravity has shifted somewhat since I was a twelve year old twig who prayed nightly for God to make me gain weight so my cousin, Dennie, Jr., would stop calling me a beanpole. I had no clue what a beanpole was, but I was convinced enough that it was a “bad” thing to silently beg God for some extra poundage.
Who knew God had such a fucking wicked sense of humor?
He answered my plea for pounds with wanton abandon while simultaneously ignoring my prayers for Farrah Fawcett’s hair and Daisy Duke’s legs. Real funny, God. You are one HI-LAR-IOUS dude.
But I digress.
Skating is exercise. It certainly didn’t seem like it when I was cruising around the rink at twelve years old in between stuffing nachos in my face. But at forty? It is a freaking workout. Like doing Pilates while on a Stairmaster. Or lifting weights while on a treadmill. It’s a ridiculous workout for a forty year old body.
And it was hot at the skating rink today. Quite humid. My cute little twig of a daughter developed adorable little beads of sweat on her nose as cute little skinny kids often do when it is hot. Not me though. No, I had stinky rivers of sweat careening down my face. My hair was dripping wet. My glasses were fogged up. I looked a mess. (Hence, the second shower today.) Honestly, I am surprised paramedics didn’t come rushing in the room to try to resuscitate me.
But the way I looked was far from my biggest concern. Falling on my ass was much more humiliating.
Truth be told, I didn’t actually fall on my ass. I fell more on those lovely D cups. It all played out in slow motion, as the cringe-worthy events of my life all seem to do. One minute I was trying to catch up to my daughter—she wouldn’t skate unless I went out there with her, but then she skated so far ahead of me that there was really no point—and the next minute, I could feel my torso move considerably too far in front of my skates. I was getting way ahead of myself. My brain was twelve years old again, but my legs were forty year old Jell-O.
I tried to catch myself. I swung my arms in the air rapidly like a baboon on crack, attempting to regain my balance. My left leg went right and my right leg went left. No amount of wing flapping would save me. I was going down.
I didn’t feel the fall so much as I heard it. Slap! One thigh hit the ground, reverberating as each molecule of cellulite bounced up and down against the hardwood floor. Slap! The other hit the ground. Splat! My stomach. Ka-boom! One boob. Then the other. And finally—Smack! Both hands. I was laid out flat—little girls careening around me to avoid a pile-on.
When was the last time you fell? Maybe on ice in the winter? Maybe you twisted your ankle and went down? Maybe you tripped over your dog? All of these are unfortunate incidences, but in most cases, the fall in the most humiliating part and it is all over quickly.
When you are wearing roller skates, the fall is only half the fun. Getting up is as bad—if not worse—than the fall itself. Getting up is U-G-L-Y. See…the thing is, well…wheels roll. It’s what they’re made to do. You put a little pressure on them, and the move. At one point in the rather lengthy getting-up process, my ass was sticking straight up in the air while both hands were on the ground and only one foot was on wheels. I can only imagine the horrified little faces behind me in direct view of my granny panties.
Somehow—and I still haven’t quite figured that one out yet—I finally managed to finagle myself into an upright position again and limped off the rink in shame. Of course, it was not before the “rink monitor” executed an effortless figure 8 around me to ask if I was okay. I wanted to shout, “I am forty year old woman with wheels attached to my feet! Do you honestly THINK I am okay?” Instead, I averted my eyes and mumbled something along the line of, “Umm…yea…sure…ummm…I’m fine.”
So here I sit. Freshly showered, nursing a glass of wine, and struggling somewhat with the fact that I will never again be the skating phenom I once was. Never again will I be that agile girl with the concave chest and the mad hokey pokey skills. That torch is being passed to the next generation. My beautiful little girl will take up the mantle and hokey pokey her little ass off.
Next time, I may just cheer her on from the sidelines.