by Angie Mansfield
You know that moment in every horror film where the blonde / brunette / redheaded bimbo walks, in just her Underoos and a t-shirt, down the darkened stairs / into the creepy cellar / outside on the porch of her remote forest cabin, without so much as turning on a My Little Pony night-light? That moment, when everyone in the movie theater shouts at her not to go down there / in there / out there, because the knife-wielding maniac / evil hell-demon / Richard Simmons is out there, ready to dismember and/or eat her?
Well, someone in the peanut gallery should have warned me.
Even a simple, "Hey, pleasingly-plump girl! That activity is not recommended for people of your gravitational force!" would have been nice.
But no, the cackling hyenas let me go out there, with predictable results.
I am speaking, of course, of my first experience ice skating.
It should be an easy thing to master, judging from the number of toddlers who were zipping around the rink, pirouetting, and pointing and laughing on their way past. Even the ones I managed to trip just popped back up again, flashed me a rather age-inappropriate hand gesture, and sped off on their merry way.
Unfortunately, I have about as much grace as a newborn foal, even on dry land. On ice, as it turned out, I was utterly hopeless.
"Bend your knees!" shouted my not-at-all helpful friend. His voice was a bit wheezy, due to his uncontrolled laughter. "Try just pushing yourself with one foot at first."
This might have been helpful advice, were I able to get into a standing position in the first place. Upon touching the ice, my skates had shot neatly out from under me, causing me to land hard on my ample backside, and I couldn't figure out how to get enough traction to get back up again. Instead, I lay there flailing, entertaining an entire rink full of people, until I finally hit on the brilliant idea of dragging myself off the ice with my forearms, performing a sort of commando crawl.
When I finally managed to get to the wall of the rink and pull myself up, I had to dangle there, arms planted on the top of the wall and feet slipping in every direction as I tried to secure them under me. My friend made the unwise decision to step too close, and I grabbed the front of his parka in one desperation-strengthened fist. I yanked him close, and let him get a good look at the crazy in my eyes.
"Get me...off...these damned things," I growled at him.
The episode wasn't a total loss, however. My skates, as it turned out, made a great roof ornament for Christmas. Come to think of it, I'd better go get them down. After the holidays, of course. Ho, ho, ho.
Angie Mansfield, perhaps unsurprisingly, lives alone with her dog and a jade plant named Fred. Yes, her plant has a name. You can visit him at Jaded Fred, though he probably won't like it.