Rollergirl, she’s taking chances

In the late 70’s alls I wanted to do was rollerskate.  But I was a renter.  I had to skate twice as well to make up for it.  I remember week after week, as I paid my admission to Rollerland West or Silver Wheel or wherever, I would see those gleaming white skates with the pom poms available for purchase behind the counter.  How I longed for them!

Oh, my dad offered to buy me some skates for my birthday.  We even went to Sears and everything.  But the wheels all had writing on them, and I’d have none of that.  (What I did not realize was that when the wheels were in motion, you couldn’t see the words, you just saw the color.  The brilliant color!  Red or blue or sometimes green.)  So, when it mattered most, I never had my gleaming white roller skates.

I continued to rent until my step-grandmother, Grandma Doc, got me and my step-brother Eric ones that kind of looked like the tennis shoe skates but not really.  His were blue and gold.  Mine were rust and mustard.  I can see her thought process — blue is a boy’s color and rust was the color of Mrs. Garrett’s hair.

All my memories of skating are good ones, except this one time, when I was 8 or 9, Dad took Eric and I to an unfamiliar rink near his side of town.  Eric and I skated our separate ways, as this was before we bonded over lip-sync-ing to Billy Joel and forcing our hamsters to perform gymnastics.

At one point the DJ was like, “Clear the floor for the skate-dancing competition!” and I was all “Where do I sign up?”  But alas, it was for pairs.  The winning pair had this girl in it who was little and sassy and won the crowd over without having to skate particularly well.  She was everything I wanted to be!  (Back then I was really impressed by girls who were small for their age.)

I approached the girl after her victory lap and said congratulations.  It wasn’t weird or anything.

Well, not long after that, her two guy friends started harassing me and hurting my feelings.  I can’t remember what they said, but if it upset me back then, chances are it was either “That girl has dandruff” or “That girl just farted.”

Eric saw that I wasn’t enjoying myself.  I told him what had happened.  He immediately went to the manager, and when the manager dragged the kids over to me and asked if they were harassing me, I said no, it was fine.  I guess I thought they’d like me if I defended them — they’d see how cool I was and change their tune about me.  They did not.

Dad picked us up and asked us if we had a good time.  Eric launched into the story, and I said it was no biggie and acted like it was no biggie.  At the time I remember thinking what a jerk Eric was for involving the adults in my ordeal.  But now I think that’s just the kind of kid I hope my Johnny turns out to be.

To this day, I do not approach celebrities, even if they did something praiseworthy.  It kills me, but I consider the consequences.  I mean, I doubt Mark Knopfler or somebody would say I farted, but you never know.

So as an adult with a computer, I was happy to be able to buy the 3 pairs of skates pictured above. The tennis shoe ones are a size and a half too small.  One of the boot ones has white wheels.  I know, right?!  Still, I have been unable to even lift these out of this crate, except for ironic skating parties and ironic photos about my hoarding.

You are voting to get rid of at least 1 pair.

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Let’s get physical

Here’s what we are dealing with today: a second place ribbon from the Fort Worth Independent School District’s “Fitness Festival.”  What that was was an aerobic dance contest.  My 4th grade class at Tanglewood Elementary had a routine to the Bee Gees “Night Fever,” which was already 3 years old by that time but still going strong, at least to the P.E. teachers at Tanglewood.  I say routine, but it was really just a couple of grapevines, then a couple of kicks and then we did a quarter turn and started the sequence all over again.  We repeated this on all four sides, over and over.  We thought we were hot shit.

The night of the program (I seem to recall we were at the Tarrant County Convention Center or at least somewhere else crazy big), were were nervous but confident.  We were set to “perform” second to last.  All the other schools were not even trying in the choreography department.

It was hard to hear our song at first, the space was so big and the PA was so loud and distorted. But we got it the hell together.  After the song had faded and the last kick and half-assed shuffle was managed, we were happy that all those other schools got served by us.

But then, hold up a min… Eastern Hills Elementary took the floor in full-on costumes.  Leotards, sequins, the whole nine.  They had a full routine choreographed from beginning to end.  Those kids were dancing like they were in a dance class, not an aerobics class for old ladies.  We were all “did we just get served?”  We knew we had.

Epilogue: That following year, I moved out of the Tanglewood area and to — you guessed it — the Eastern Hills area.  There was a whole dance program there at EHE and a big show called the “Dance-a-rama,” performed near the end of the school  year.  I danced the “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Shaft,” and “Disco Mickey Mouse” dances (the last one was a hand-selected group and was the feature dance in the Dance-a-rama, y’all; P.S. it was already 1981 but we were still all about disco).


Oh, Ziggy. Will you ever win?

These are exactly what they look like: Ziggy and Fuzz salt and pepper shakers.  I had this set when I was a child.  Oh, not this exact set: these I bought during the early days of eBay.  As soon as I discovered there was an eBay, I sought these out and managed to acquire them without any bidding war ugliness.  Ziggy still has old salt in him, and it spills out wherever he is stored, but taking the salt out of my Ziggy salt shaker is very low on my list of priorities always.

I must tell you that my love for Ziggy was a real love and it lasted at least 2 years.  In the late 70’s, he was everywhere, like Paul Williams.  I had his Christmas ornaments, his plush toys, 2 lap desks… I even carried his comb in my back pocket.  Also, I had a Ziggy-themed roller skating party for my 10th birthday.  I made a paper mache mask of him in the 5th grade — I guess so I could be him.

I don’t know why I loved Ziggy so much.  It wasn’t because of his messages of pessimism and despair mixed with those of love and stuff like wanting it to rain kittens or whatever. I actually think it had more to do with how aesthetically pleasing his face was/is.  The round head, the bulbous nose — very easy on the eye; very easy for a 10-year-old to draw with accuracy.

A toss vote is a vote to donate, not to throw in the garbage.  Although something tells me Ziggy wouldn’t be all that surprised to end up there.


Raggedy indeed

Firstly, some words of advice about keeping your water bill down: if you need to use the toilet and you’re getting ready to go someplace, wait until you get to that place and use their toilet.

Okay, I have 2 superstitions: the one about not thowing away things that dead people have signed that have their faces on them; and the other, not throwing away stuffed animals.

I don’t know the origin of this.  It never held any special place in my heart.  But it is technically a stuffed animal and I can’t throw it out.  I could donate it, but it’s pretty gross.