These are strange times, as I’m sure you have all realized by now. So why not take this opportunity to develop some weird, useless skills. Maybe your family is sick of banana bread, or you have found that the diligence required to learn a new language is just not in your wheelhouse. Well, I’m here to tell you that that is A-OK! Don’t even worry about it! These are not normal times, so why pick up normal skills? Here, I have gathered, and even attempted, some weird skills that come in handy precisely never in everyday life, but are fun to do nonetheless.
- Roller Skating/Blading
If your parents are anything like mine, they will have a couple pairs of roller skates or blades stuffed in a storage bin somewhere. Go ahead and take yourself back in time to the 80s and make sure to gear up in all the acutrement: knee-pads, elbow-pads, wrist-guards, and especially the all-too-important helmet (please don’t sue me). If you are really into it you could online-thrift some colorful prints and neon leg-warmers to complete the look and really experience the thrill of blading (as the cool kids call it).
I tried this one, and it was a surprisingly easy skill to catch onto. I will warn you though, it is nearly impossible to look graceful, and passing drivers will laugh at you. If you’re going to fall, try to fall backwards on your arse and maybe let that extra quarantine padding protect you. A fun trick to try is the ‘teapot,’ where you bend down while skating forward and put your arms straight out in front of you zombie-style and say “Mom! Watch! You’re not looking!”
This one is easy if you have internet access. Youtube is rife with eager jugglers who are dying to tutor you in their craft. If you do not have any balls in your home, they are easily accessible. Once you’ve mastered the basic three-ball cascade pattern, try doing it with bowling pins, and then flaming torches (available on Amazon for the low price of £87!). You should be ready to run away with the circus in no time.
- Magic tricks
Imagine the bar and bat mitzvah crowds you’ll wow! Now we have all had our fill of the removable finger, and the got-your-nose illusions, I’m challenging you to pick up a deck of cards and really stump an audience of people over 12 years old. Yes, you heard correct, a deck of cards can be used for more than just King’s Cup. Now, I’m not going to bother trying to explain a card trick, you can google those on your own time. One way to spice up your big reveal, however, is to “levitate” your audience’s card by placing your index finger on the top of the deck (having the number side facing them) and then secretly stick out your pinky and use that to lift their card (which is at the side of the deck closest to you in this scenario).
- Sabering a champagne bottle
Have you ever seen What Happens in Vegas (2008) starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher? Alternatively, have you ever been at a super posh party at around 1am? In both cases, this trick is a real impresser, if a dangerous one. Apparently, slicing open a bottle of Brut is actually not that hard. The key is to chill it before opening so the glass is more brittle, then you remove the foil and wire. Finally, you hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle (away from you, and away from any stained glass windows or people’s faces), and run the knife on the seam of the bottle and quickly jab it upward where the seam meets the lip. It’s a trick that’s simultaneously classy, bougie, and a little bit ratchet, but, if you have been drinking as much as I have during this lockdown, it could at least be a valid excuse for all those bottles that have been piling up.
- The Moonwalk
Picture this: you’re in the 601, Bohemian Rhapsody is playing for the second time in an hour, and you bust out the moonwalk in that big empty space at the back. You’re an instant icon. A St Andrews legend. A dancing queen. Young and sweet, only 17 and you have the ‘UA’ on your hands to prove it. Again, this move is easily learned via Youtube, but the gist of it is this: wear slidey shoes and only attempt on smooth surfaces. The Moonwalk takes up way less space than the worm and if you do it wrong you don’t look half as stupid.
Even if you only learn one of these party tricks I would say you have earned instant status points at any event where the opportunity arises to whip them out. Yes, using this time productively is important, but productive does not always mean boring and practical. So even if nothing on this list is for you, do something fun and pointless. You deserve it after getting those exams back.