Have Coffee will Travel: Rollerblading on Jell-O

Published 11:21 pm Saturday, October 20, 2018

By Michael Cole


I will start off by saying that the title has absolutely nothing to do with the article.

But in a sense, it has everything to do with this article.

Back in High School, I had a friend named Greg. As far as friends go, I hated him, I liked him.

He was my best friend. I think if you could pick brothers, he would have been my first round draft pick.

We did things together, we were on the Academic Team, we both occupied the last chair and next to last chair Trombone in Band.  He was going to be an engineer and I was going to be a philosopher-politician.

Unfortunately, he went to one college and I went in another direction.

Our contact slipped away to nothing.

But I do remember that I promised him that if I ever got some of my stuff published, I would do a piece dealing with rollerblading on Jell-O.

Why not?

After all, since no one has done it, I can claim that I have not done it more, and are hereby am an expert on the sport.

Hey, maybe that will make it to my resume.

Noted World Unknown Expert in Rollerblading on Jell-O.

I say why not.

He was my Best Friend growing up, and one of the biggest regrets of becoming an adult.

We all have that friend.

I think today, we call them “ride or die” friends. Anyone that has been in the car with me behind that wheel, automatically qualify for that term.

We had our own little in-jokes. Doesn’t every group of friends?

Whenever we wanted to insult someone, we added, “But I don’t mean that in a bad way”. We spent our senior year in Mr. Kuaper’s English class seeing how many times we could use the term.

I always lost.

Funny, I have had other friends that we were tight, but, none of them were as memorable.

He was a friend when I became a diabetic. We were nerds before it was cool to be one.

So let me tell you what I have learned about rollerblading on Jell-O.

It is hard. Very hard.

The Jell-O is everything in your life. The stress, the job, the deadlines, the relationships, the toll on your life.

One false move and you sink into the Jell-O.

Your rollerblades are your talents. What do people see in you? What you do good. What sets you apart from the rest of the world.

And you are all your hopes and dreams.

Now, your goal in life is to rollerblade from the shallow end of the pool to the other side before you sink.

How many of you have already drowned?

How many of you have lost yourself to the Jell-O?

How many are still slowly plodding along hoping to make it to the other end before you sink?

Are you still wearing the same rollerblades?

Did the ones you start with end up being too tight or too lose and you had to start over?

That’s okay. Sometimes the rollerblades we think we want are not the ones we are best with.

I want to be a Naval Officer but had to change those out for a management pair. I then changed them out for an education pair.

And almost drowned in the Jell-O with a political pair.

I think I have the right writing pair on.

Either way, I am pushing off again and am shooting to get to the other end with my pride intact and my vision back.

It has taken me 20 years to understand Epictetus.

Epictetus remarked that Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

I do not need a mansion, a Bugatti, or the riches of King Midas. Being in politics, I have met both Castro Brothers, Cecille Richards,  about half a dozen Congressmen, a Couple Cabinet Secretaries and a host of other big-name politicians.

None of it matters to me. I am content with my writing. It pays the bills. It allows me to be there to pamper my wife, to do things that make me happy.

I have the right pair of rollerblades on now, and bigger ones no longer attract me.

I have learned that happy with what you have is a far more satisfying experience than a quest for more.

It never ends, that quest for more. Because you are not seeking happiness, but material goods you think will make you happy. Unfortunately, that quest for wealth is never-ending. And you sink trying to make it to the other side with an oversized pair of rollerblades.

So Greg, if you somehow read this, make sure you are rollerblading on Jell-O with the right pair.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way.