You lost your job; weeks later, your wife divorced you. With no compelling reason to stay in the large city in the American South where you’d moved to take a job that no longer existed, you moved back in with your parents just a couple months shy of your thirtieth birthday. Still mercifully numb to the shock of being rejected by a woman you were still very much in love with (though the pain was waiting, and would have its way with you eventually), you made some tentative dating-type overtures. The person you began to see was a friend of a friend, an intimidating firebrand of a woman who was a local roller derby celebrity and by any reasonable hipness metric just way the fuck out of your league. But she seemed to like you. And you wanted badly to impress her, so one day when she was scheduled to drop by your parents’ place to pick you up, you forced yourself to ignore how absurdly emasculating the entire situation was, putting on your old rollerblades and skating around in the street so she’d see you and have the opportunity to be impressed by your smooth in-line skills. She arrived. “Trying to impress me, eh?” she said, and you immediately fell directly on your ass.

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