The Price of Tea in China:Spontaneous purchase yields predictable result

Perhaps it was boredom. Perhaps it was spontaneity. Or perhaps it was the complete lack of any functioning brain cells that compelled me, on an idle midsummer Thursday, to think to myself, "I desperately need a pair of roller blades."

When I was 5, I had the sincere belief that if I took a large knife from the kitchen and cut open the television screen, I could step through into the alternate dimension that was Jim Henson's "The Tale of the Bunny Picnic." The only difference between this and wanting roller blades is that my babysitter did not stop me before I climbed into my vehicle with the intent to buy sporting equipment that had the capability of breaking every bone in my body and making me look like an utter buffoon.

Of course, I didn't go alone; this was a critical decision in which I would need a certain amount of direction, guidance, and wisdom.

But as it was such short notice, I had to call fine human being Jared McDuffee, who agreed to accompany me only because he'd already seen that night's episode of "The Simpsons."

Upon our arrival at MC Sports, we were approached by a sales associate named Greg who was anxious to aid in the search for the inline skates that were right for me. I have probably taken a Seventeen magazine quiz on this before, but I played along for Greg, as he probably works on commission.

"Have you ever been skating before?" he asked.

"Yup," I answered, even though my last time skating featured a "slow skate" in which sixth grade girls such as myself waited by the side of the rink for sixth grade boys such as Matt Newmyer to finally express their Robert Redford-like romanticism by asking us to hold their hands and skate around in a circle.

Sadly, they never did, which forced us to mope around until high school graduation wearing the Dejected Expression of Eternal Inadequacy. However, if they had asked us to skate, we're sure we would someday receive a rather confused telephone call regarding the joint checking account we would open the following day.

I must have also mentioned my shoe size and what I was looking for in a pair of blades ("blue ones") because Greg had gone to fetch the skates that I would buy a short fifteen minutes later.

The next day I tried them on actual asphalt in a park strategically positioned right next to the hospital.

After a few minutes of staggering around the park like an intoxicated Igor, and just when I thought I had acquired the mad skill necessary to roller blade while standing upright, I had a great fall. And all the king's horses and all the king's men, along with a group of junior high boys playing basketball and a large group of picnicking senior citizens stared with vacant expressions as I lost a pint of blood via my left knee.

Needless to say, my blades are in storage. But I definitely plan to get them out again when my knee heals and Krusty the Clown is elected Pope.

I hope Matt Newmyer won't be upset. I charged them on our credit card.

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