Hulk Skates

I must have been somewhere between the ages of 3 and 4 the first time went to the Aqueduct Racetrack. It wasn't too far from the apartment building we were living in at that time, and the Aqueduct was host to a large flea market on the weekends. (Oddly enough, I've just recently found out that the flea market would be closing for good soon.)

The Aqueduct was an amazing world of colorful sights and smells for a child. Toys of every kind seemed to litter the area. Salesfolks would stand in front if their booths demonstrating the latest Chinese tin wind up cars, symbol playing monkeys, and crawling babies. Others would play with paddle ball toys, or the amazing click clacks (AKA clackers, ker-bangers, popper knockers, and a variety of other names).

I wanted an orange pair of click clacks so bad, but my mom said I was too young. It's a shame, too. The sales guy had my dad on the verge of buying me one, so he could play with it too.

But I digress.

We were there to buy clothes, material for my mother to sew, a pair of Chinese cloth shoes my dad loved, and some rusty screws. I'm not too sure about the rusty screws. I just remember my mom saying, "That's right, we came here to buy rusty screws," every time my dad found someone selling dirty used tools. In retrospect, I assume she meant it sarcastically.

I know that I spent quite some time watching my dad paw greasy used tools, as that seemed less boring than watching my mom at the linen and material booth. The upside is that my dad was equally captivated by the cheap import toy booths, so we spent an equal amount of time watching demonstrations of remote controlled toys as we did staring at crap tool booths.

With my mother distracted buying things that were needed, my father and I ran around eating elephant ears, hotdogs, and playing with toys.

When my mom caught up to us I was wearing a headband with two springy antennae topped with glittery red balls. My dad proudly exclaimed that they looked like El Chapulin Colorado's antennae. My mom just laughed.

On the way out we passed a table selling roller-skates. My dad insisted I needed some. My mother was unconvinced, as they were costly and I would ultimately outgrow them in a few months.

In response, the seller shows my mom his line of expandable plastic figural skates. They were cheap plastic skates with plastic wheels that a kid would slip on over their shoes, and the size was adjustable. The tips of the skates featured the one thing no child could ignore: a superhero's face!

He had Wonder Woman, which I was excited about, but my mom, being a mom, required me to try them on. For some reason, perhaps the design of the figural aspect of the head, they did not fit properly and they hurt. So Wonder Woman was a no go.

I saw Batman and I knew I was to have him, even if he didn't fit, or hurt my foot through my sneakers, I was going to smile and lie through my teeth. But first I had to try on the Hulk skates. They fit like a glove, and before I could speak up, my mom had already brokered the deal. Sure, I could have interrupted... if I want to have a taste of the back of her hand. Children were never to interrupt adults in conversation, nor were they to speak unless spoken to.

So I went home with a pair of Hulk skates.

That afternoon, I went outside to try them out. My mom strapped them to my feet and off I went... About an inch. Those plastic wheels really had no tread, and on the rough sidewalk, it was worse.

Our apartment was carpeted, so no use there. The kitchen had linoleum, but was the size of a closet.

I had a pair of useless Hulk skates, but what I found out was I had a great pair a of Hulk race cars that my knockoff Playmobil guys could ride around in.

I never did wear those stupid antennae again. And I still want a pair of orange click clacks.

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