Humor Magazine

Learning to Rollerblade (With Video!)

By Katie Hoffman @katienotholmes

There are a lot of childhood activities that I never fully mastered, like hopping on a pogo stick, “jumping in” toward a moving jump rope, successfully completing the rings at the park… the list goes on. I’ve happily grown out of most of my juvenile limitations, but the shame of one of these childhood failings has followed me into adulthood: I regret that I never learned how to rollerblade, but at twenty-three years old, I’ve decided that now is the time to finally do something about it.

It’s embarrassing to admit that I never learned how to rollerskate or rollerblade, but at least I conquered riding a bike, and I can kind of swim as long (as I don’t have to put my face in the water). When you consider how kid’s rollerskates looked in the 90s, it’s really not that surprising I never learned, because I clearly valued my ankles from a young age:

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Truthfully, I haven’t had that much exposure to rollerblading as a recreational activity. It’s not like I live in California, where I assume the entire population spends most of their waking hours rollerblading and surfing.

I went to a roller rink once in my sophomore year of high school, but that was only because a weird girl I wasn’t really friends with randomly invited me to her birthday party, and I decided to go because I felt bad saying no to her because she was weird, and I didn’t want her to group me with all the other mean kids that made fun of her at school, but I also didn’t want to become her friend, and I definitely didn’t want anyone to know I was going to the party. Anyway, there were only four other people at the party, and one of them was this chick’s sister, and even though I had rollerskates on my feet, I never left the safety of the wall–partially because I didn’t know how to skate, but mostly because I knew I’d have to hold hands with the misfits for support, and I had absolutely no intention of doing that.

Maybe that gave me a bad impression of rollerblading for a while. (And maybe I’m not very nice, but that’s not relevant here.)


Just for the record, the roller rink is nothing like how it looks in Jessica Simpson’s “A Public Affair” music video (also, the people in the roller rink aren’t dressed to the nines–they’re wearing I-hate-myself sweatpants). It’s dark and damp and the disco ball isn’t quite big enough, and your only takeaway thought is, “If I die in here I hope they move my body somewhere better before the coroner arrives.”

I know you’re probably wondering, “Why learn how to rollerblade now? You’ve reached an age where no one will judge you for your ineptitude! You could easily die not knowing how to rollerblade!”

You have a point. What I’m putting myself through is a lot like a 40-year-old getting braces: senseless, elective torture.

Looking past the truism, “It’s never too late!” I think I’m just excited to learn a new skill, and one that doesn’t involve technology or an update to my resume. As an adult, most of the miscellaneous skills I’ve picked are career-related—which is so important and wonderful—but I don’t want everything I do in my life to be concentrated on furthering my career. Some people want to eat, sleep, and breathe their professional endeavors. Me? I believe in working hard and stretching yourself crepe (as opposed to paper or pancake) thin, but still making time to do the frivolous things that put a smile on your face.

We sometimes neglect the wants of our present self in favor of the hypothetical needs of our future self, and the older we get, the quicker we are to dismiss spending time on things that aren’t necessarily useful or productive. We could all benefit from taking a little time to relax, unplug, and risk a broken ankle, if that’s what tickles your fancy (like it tickles mine, apparently).

When was the last time you learned a new skill or taught yourself how to do something? That didn’t involve technology? That wasn’t aimed at furthering your professional success? That was solely for your enjoyment?

The most recent skill I taught myself, that didn’t involve Photoshop or Microsoft Excel, was probably how to do a fishtail braid, and even that required a YouTube tutorial. I want to make more time to do new things that are entirely for myself—not for someone else, not for the furtherance of my long-term career goals, not for my physical fitness, not for my blog or for my cat—just me, just for the fun of it, just because.

So I’m taking you all on this wobbly, awkward, embarrassing journey with me, and for your viewing pleasure, I’ve provided a video of my very first public rollerblading attempt. I got my rollerblades the same day this video was made, and this was my first time rollerblading outside. I’m pleased with my performance, but I will admit I had less success outside than I did earlier that day in the kitchen.

By the way, I plan on doing more vlogging in the future, so here’s my shiny new YouTube channel (which you can totally subscribe to):

Do you know how to rollerblade? What am I supposed to be doing with my arms? Have you learned any new skills lately?

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