Marvin was certain he was good at something; unfortunately, others were equally certain he was not.

Specifically, the thing he was certain he was good at but others were certain he was not was ice skating, and even more specifically, comfortably gliding backwards over a distance roughly equal to his height while ice skating. You see, in the interest of self-improvement, Marvin had enrolled in an ice-skating program at his local YMCA, and in order to pass from Level 1 to Level 2 at the end of the first six-week session, he was required to demonstrate proficiency in a number of skills, including the aforementioned gliding backwards over a distance roughly equal to his height. While he was judged proficient in all other relevant skills, the instructor in charge of assessments at the end of the first session deemed him insufficiently so in his backwards gliding, and notified Marvin that, should he elect to continue with in the program, he would therefore be required to repeat Level 1 in its entirety. Upon receiving the news, Marvin declared the instructor a charlatan and a skank and demanded a second opinion, which he subsequently received from another instructor who similarly deemed him insufficiently proficient with respect to his backwards gliding, and for good measure – or more likely, Marvin thought, out of spite – added that he had significant room for improvement when it came to his left-foot forward glides.

Marvin sought comfort in the arms of his friends.

“Oh, Marvin,” they told him. “It’s just one person’s opinion.”

“Two,” Marvin reminded them.

“Anyway,” they said, “maybe it’s all for the best, because if you got too advanced at ice skating at this point in your life, it would honestly be kind of weird. Like, why would you even want to get that good at ice skating – it’s not like you’re going to make the Olympics? Plus, ice skating itself is weird. I mean, what dumbass Einstein came up with genius idea to glue knives to the bottoms of a pair of shoes and then trying to walk around in them on planet earth’s slipperiest surface?”

“Thanks for the input,” Marvin said. Then he went back to his basement apartment, put his ice skates in the oven, and set them to bake at 500 degrees. While the skates slowly transformed into slurry of stinking toxic ash and scorched metal, Marvin placed a call to the instructor who had initially deemed him insufficiently proficient in his backward glides – the one he had called a charlatan and a skank – and invited her over for sexual intercourse.

“Normally I’d say no,” she told him. “However, on the grounds that I’ve been putting so much time and energy into lowering people’s self-esteem by way of ice skating that I can hardly remember what it feels like to indulge the pleasures of the flesh, I’m going to accept the invitation.”

Thirty minutes later, their intimate congress had already reached its terminus.

Marvin rolled onto his back and fixed his gaze on a water stain on the ceiling that, he’d long been convinced, looked exactly like the late Jimi Hendrix. “So,” he said. “Was it as good for you as it was for me?”

“No,” the ice-skating instructor replied drily.

“Well,” said Marvin, “since it was super shitty for me, I’ll take that as a compliment.”