Thanks to my degenerate friends, I came into a little bit of cash at our poker game last week. Friday I spent my poker winnings on a pair of hockey skates and then proceeded to immediately head over to Millennium Park and try them out on the outdoor rink. Returning to the ice is (as I’m sure you have surmised) phase three of my time machine project.

I skated regularly as a kid. My hometown has a nice, full-sized ice rink. As an added bonus, the rink was only lightly used. Everyone else wanted to play baseball, I think. The rink had a lot of good things going for it. It was close to my dad’s office. It was open year-round — which made it particularly appealing on those scorching days of summer in the desert. And it was across the street from the best comic book shop in town.

I skated there a lot growing up. I desperately wanted to play hockey there but lost on appeal in the court of parental oversight. We had a number of popular roller-rinks in town as well, but I always preferred the ice rink. It was great.

So here I am, twenty years older and not a day wiser, strapping on some new skates and heading out onto the ice once more. Of course I invited my friends to join me. Many were convinced this had to be one of the worst ideas I have ever come up with. Tempting horrible physical and psychological trauma this close to the anniversary of that Brain Mishap. That’s saying something, because I’ve had some really bad ideas over the years. T. was more supportive:

You win the prize for picking the cutest group activity chosen by a grown ass man.

At least I think she meant that supportively. You don’t think she was being cynical, do you?

So anyway, some scheduling complications meant that we scheduled two trips to the ice rink this past weekend. The brief one Friday night at Millennium Park. T., Hurricane, and niqui joined Whirl on the sidelines while Hurricane and I skated for a while. We did a longer skate Saturday afternoon. Whirl has never ice skated.

So Saturday when we regrouped. Farmboy, Princess, niqui, Whirl and I met over at the smaller outdoor rink at Daley Bicentennial Plaza on the north side of Grant Park and skated for a couple hours. Whirl and Princess both skated for the first time ever. Nobody got hurt. Both newcomers did really well and said they had a lot of fun and would like to do it again. It was a great time outside on the ice.

Farmboy put on a strong pitch to get my skills up and consider joining him in a pick-up amateur hockey league and I have to say the proposal has a lot of appeal.

All time travel stories have to contend with the issue of paradox. Farmboy’s proposal and its implementation inside my time machine raises that issue in a very personal way: What would happen if I were to travel back and time and defy the ruling of the court of parental oversight?