“Let’s Go Rollerblading!” by Patrick McKay

Nov 14th, 2012 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Remember that? Remember rollerblading? We used to do that! All the time! We should do that again! C’mon! Let’s go rollerblading!

Yeah, I’m serious. Mine are in that old sports crate in the garage. You know, the one with that empty racquetball can, maroon neoprene elbow sleeve, and my rollerblades! Purchased in 1987, 1991, and 1993, respectively. My kneepads are in there, too, although I didn’t see my wrist guards. I was always losing my wrist guards. Fudge! I bet we could find your rollerblades. I bet we could. Let’s find ‘em!

Remember how we used to jump off curbs? Backwards? Wearing Lycra? With bandanas tied around our heads? Where are those bandanas? Fudge! Mine was blue, yours was red. We used to joke about how you were a Crip and I was a Blood. Or maybe I was a Crip and you were a Blood, I always got them confused. Anyway, that was totally the best! Flying along at around 13 mph! Wind whipping in our hair! Just beneath our red or blue bandanas! We owned the sidewalks! Except when someone was walking a dog. Then we’d politely step aside and wait in the grassy area between the street and the walkway until they passed. Our skates leaving dents in the sod. I sometimes felt guilty about that and didn’t make eye contact with the house we were in front of.

Rollerblading was thrilling!

I had dark green Bravoblade GLXs with 76 millimeter D-stroyer wheels on them. No brakes. I always took off the brakes with either a screwdriver or a butter knife. I braked with my D-stroyer wheels! I braked by T-stopping! Of course, that wore the wheels out and I had to get new ones. That was so rad getting new wheels! We bought them eight at a time, remember? Who buys eight wheels at a time? Truck drivers and rollerbladers, that’s who!

Remember when I tried to ride down stairs on rollerblades? You said I was crazy! But shins don’t really bleed much, thankfully. It was mostly the risk of infection. Sorry you got that parking ticket in the hospital drive-thru. Man, those were the days! I still owe you $32 dollars for that.

Forget about it! That’s just rollerblading!

Look! I found your rollerblades in the crate right underneath my rollerblades! Hey, right! Yours were red Macroblades! You still have your stock wheels, I see. Maybe we should go buy you eight new wheels. Who buys eight wheels!?

Right! I did just say that! But, seriously, I think I know a place that might still carry them if we call ahead and the shipping lanes around Shanghai haven’t been too crowded.

I miss rollerblading!

Remember those Saturdays in that huge parking lot at Bellevue Community College? Practicing crossovers at first. Then backwards “blading,” which is when you go backwards on your “blades.” Then, eventually, backwards-crossover blading!

What was more awesome than backwards-crossover blading!? Nothing comes to mind. Nope.

Sometimes, I’d take my shirt off if no one was around and backwards-crossover blade like that. Man, we were the lords of that parking lot! We owned it! Well, the school owned it, but on those afternoons, we owned it, too! Kind of!

Remember my foam headphones and that Spin Doctors CD? We were total “spin doctors” while listening to the Spin Doctors! One time we used a headset splitter with my Discman because the 12 triple-A batteries in your Discman were dead and we split around that kid on a unicycle and tore the wires out. What a downer! No more Spin Doctors! In either sense!

At some point, I think we even started getting really good at rollerblading. People used to actually stop their rollerblading to watch our rollerblading. This is way after my shins healed. I could go down stairs easily by then. I was a hotshot! Well, until I tried roller hockey and realized I can’t really skate “traditionally” very well. But I stopped the traditional stuff and went right back to hot shot!

Remember how we rollerbladers used to look at roller skaters and say “What dipshits!” That was fun! Now roller skating is considered far more interesting and difficult than rollerblading ever was. How totally ironical!

It’s funny thinking about how, eventually, people didn’t rollerblade. Everyone just quit. And people’d actually get mad at us when we screamed by on the only paved, multi-use trail in the city. I mean, literally, we would scream. Like girl scouts in a haunted mansion.

Then we went to this skate park and this kid did a flip. A friggin’ 360-degree flip! On rollerblades! Jesus. That’s when I packed it in. You could injure the crap out of yourself doing a flip. I was never going to do that. I was never going to even try. You could injure the crap out of yourself doing anything on rollerblades. Get hit by a car. Remember that time I hurt my shins? It was awful.

You know what? We’ll just put them back in the crate, the rollerblades. Just do them left-to-right, toe-cap to leg-shank, like how new shoes come in boxes. It’s the most efficient storage method.

We don’t really have time to rollerblade, anyway. Just too many other things.

Fuck it. Let’s not go rollerblading.


Patrick McKay’s writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and a few other adequately-shaded corners of the internet. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two daughters where he freelances as an advertising creative. Also, if you find your own truck, he’ll help you move that mattress.


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