Roller Skating On Thin Ice: Benjy’s Day At The Rink

By | November 1, 2017

So, some quick math…let’s see. That means it’s been…33, minus the square root of A over B…carry the one…A long-ass time. Feelings I felt were stress, shyness and general anxiety about roller skating.

So when Kat forwarded me the invitation for her sister’s 30th birthday skating and pizza party, I was jazzed about the pizza. But the idea of strapping four wheels to my feet and stumbling over 10-year olds while trying to ignore distorted Lady Gaga jams over the busted karaoke speakers…let’s say I figured I had better things to do with my Sunday afternoon.

Plus, I was scared out of my gourd.

Yup. A grown man, scared of roller skating. Pretty stupid, eh? I foresaw doctor bills, loss of income, and gobs of pain if this didn’t pan out. But I figured that if a 10-year old can do this, so could I. Plus, there was some dude in a penguin suit out there, and I’ve never let a penguin outshine me. Maybe a whooping crane…but NEVER a penguin.

I laced up and headed out to the carpeted standing area outside the rink. “Hey…this ain’t so bad.” Then, we all pushed off into the dark, slippery, kid-filled rink. And my legs, which are sturdy as 200-year old oaks on any other day, suddenly became wobbly columns of Jello coated in Crisco. I had barely fumbled forward a few inches while kids who weren’t alive during the Clinton administration were whirring past at breakneck speeds.

I was embarrassed. I was worried. But the adrenaline suddenly kicked in…and I had rock solid determination. I AM going to figure this out.

I kept my broken-legged turtle pace, but observed what was going on around me. I saw how people’s legs were moving off to the side as they went. I watched what it took to slow down and stop…which occasionally meant zipping around a suddenly-appearing group of teenagers who were in my flight path. And I finally accepted, as Kat, put it, “You can’t be afraid to fall.”

You can extrapolate that metaphor to whatever situation you’d like in your life, because as far as I’m concerned, taking ANY risk is accepting the fact that you could fall and break your ass at any given time. But the key, of course, is having the guts to get back up.

I kept moving. I asked for help. And within about 30 minutes, I was circling that rink like I’d done it for years. I LOVED it. I even lapped the stupid penguin dude once or twice.
Shouldn’t he have been on an ice rink anyway?

Characterized by his booming baritone voice and unending parade of often-inappropriate one-liner jokes, Benjy Portnoy’s existence revolves around a simple and powerful mission; to strive for humor, for connection, and enjoy every last taste, sound, smell, color, and experience that crosses his path. Driven by fierce loves of cooking, music, physical/emotional health, and travel/exploration, Portnoy creates podcasts, videos, and articles to help people learn how to enjoy their lives. His 5-day SavorSampler video series is available for free at


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