Looking Cool

What follows is the text from the Humorous Speaking contest. The speech is intended to be given in 5 - 8 minutes and although I think it is okay to read, it really needs to be performed to come across as I intended. This speech was based on an actual event that did happen to me. I really did rollerblade and crash as I describe.

Looking Cool

In High School looking cool is the most important responsibility you have as a teenager. This is far more important than money, girls or even getting into college. Looking cool is the *only* thing that matters.

Around the time I was in High School skate-boarding and rollerblading were becoming the "in" thing to do. Having had some experience on roller skates I decided that rollerblading was my ticket to coolness. I knew that if I could rollerblade, or more importantly, if I could be seen rollerblading then I too would be cool.

Having decided that I needed to buy a pair I figured I might as well rollerblade home from the skate shop. After all, how hard could it be? I'd gone roller skating before and the girls on "Baywatch" could do it so it had to be easy.

I had my dad drop me off about a block or so away from the skate shop because I couldn't be seen having him drop me off. Not having a clue what I was looking for I grabbed the most expensive pair I could afford; which was just so happened to be the cheapest pair they had.

Now it so happened that not too far from the skate shop there was a nice path that went mostly through the woods and ended in my neighborhood. It had a couple of places where cars would cross it but otherwise it was mostly traffic free so after walking a couple of blocks I got to the path, strapped on the roller blades, threw my shoes in my backpack and off I went.

It was awesome. Down a little hill, up a little hill, skate skate skate to get to the top. Again down, up, skate skate. This is what it was meant to be like. I started thinking of all the places I could go on these, you know, to get the most exposure.

Then I got to the next downhill. It went down ... down ... down ... down. This is when I started to freak out.

This was when I started to look down at my feet try to and figure out how in the world I was going to stop. So on one foot I see this little rubber stopper-looking-thing at my heel. Okay, they must want me to lean back on one foot and skid to a stop. Easy as pie.

Now, leaning back on my heel didn't exactly stop me, but it did stop my acceleration. I was no longer picking up speed, but now just maintaining my 60 miles an hour jaunt through the forest.

I also do know a couple of things about this path as I used to bike it when I was little. You know, still a kid, not like when I was man in High School. For most of the way the path is completely free of traffic but there are a couple of places where cars do cross and I knew one of them was coming up.

I needed to stop before the car crossing as I can only imagine how uncool I would look as I slam into the side of somebody's car at a high velocity.

It is at this point that inspiration hits me. Of course, the answer is so simple I don't know why I didn't think of it before. I just need to take one foot, pick it up and place it perpendicular behind the other and drag it behind me. I've seen ice skaters do it before and rollerblades are basically ice skates with wheels. There is no way this plan can fail ...

So I carefully bring one foot up and slowly place it behind the other. Almost as soon as I start to put any weight down on the back foot it whips around and puts me in a complex ballet position.

The momentum continues to carry me and it is at this point that my feet leave the ground and I find my self doing a full 180 turn in air. Now I am soaring above the ground and had I not been so terrified the novelty of it all might have actually been pretty enjoyable. Here I was actually flying like superman at least 3 or 4 feet in the air. However, unlike superman my landing was not quite as pretty.

Now, you're thinking that my knee pads, helmet and wrist guards are going to come in pretty handy right now, right? No! What did I say in the beginning was the most important thing. Looking cool! Shin guards, wrist guards and, heavens forbid, a helmet ... that is not cool. Plus, it is not like I ever intended to fall.

Just before my by brilliant inspiration hits me I remember whipping by a woman jogging with her dog so after skidding to a stop I jump up quickly and check out how I look. Thankfully I am wearing cut offs which cover up my knees. I did manage to keep my face off the ground but my hands are looking pretty scraped up. Thankfully it is easy to hide the palm of your hands. I then took this natural looking pose, like I was just checking out the trees, or perhaps just taking a little breather. She jogs by, I nod and wait a little before inspecting the full damage.

One knee is a little scrapped up but all in all not too bad. The other however, must have been my main break for skidding to a stop as it was bad. I could still walk, for now, but I could tell that once the numbness wore off it was going to be quite painful.

You might think that I would have taken off my skates and carried them at this point but carrying skates is not looking cool. They also were too big to fit into my backpack so I had to continue to skate the rest of the way home.

So as I continue I take it real easy. Down down, into trees. Down down, into trees. I make sure I am not going fast enough to actually catch up with anyone, but not so slow that someone catches up with me. Down down, into trees.

This works fine and well until I get to the end. The end is a steep hill for about three blocks which ends with a sharp turn to the right. It also is *right* next to the road and no longer in the forest so there is no natural cover of the trees or easy way to stop.

I decide not to take any chances and side step down the hill. Naturally, every time a car comes I can't be seen as side stepping down the hill so I take a step up.

It is as I am side stepping up and down this hill that I start to notice a couple of people staring at me. At first I am thinking that it has got to be because I am so cool. But then I notice the people passing don't seem to be staring at me with a look of "ahhh" but rather with something more of a look of horror.

Looking down I see that my one badly injured knee is bleeding right down my leg and into my sock. At this point I swallow my pride and side step the rest of the way down.

I did learn a good lesson from all of this. Rollerblading wasn't the best way to achieve coolness ... but skate-boarding, ahh that had to be the way.

Thank You