This is going to be the best pool party EVER. You bought seven different kinds of soda. You're rockin' the Doritos, both Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch. You busted out the Fruit Roll-ups. You got a handful of Nerf toys from the bargain bin at Toys R' Us, along with a smattering of odd looks from a few concerned parents. You even sprung for those massive lawn dart weapons that can kill several people with one poorly aimed toss. This pool party has everything!

Except for a pool, that is.

Oh, so what. You can still have some watery good times! Surely there's a sprinkler lying around, right? Crap, looks like Dad ran over it with the John Deere again. Well, how about some water balloons? Nope, used them all up in that hilarious Bubonic Plague Halloween costume last fall. Any Super Soakers? Dammit, Crazy Uncle Al stole them all to stockpile for World War VII. He's just not well.

By now your guests are pelting each other with ice cubes, so desperate they are for anything resembling a water sport. You've got to do something. Frantic, you tear open the door to the storage shed, hoping to perhaps find an entire water park within, complete with tube rentals and a lazy river. Alas, all you see is a bunch of rusty rakes, a shovel or two, and Crazy Uncle Al. But what's that – in the corner? The smallest flash of sunbeam yellow…could it possibly be? It is! Your salvation!

You burst out of the shed, shouting enthusiastically at the disproportionate number of people who seem to be leaving. You swing the rubbery tarp of fun around your head like it's the Golden Fleece of plastic water toys. You briefly consider fashioning it into a cape, but there's really no time to be wasted. Slap that puppy down and let the moisture begin!

You unroll it gingerly, as it has not been used in quite some time and it's doubtful that the years have been kind to the material that began deteriorating immediately after its first use. You pick out the best spot in the lawn (i.e. the stretch of grass deemed worthy enough to turn brown and die for the next week or so), spread it out, and hook it up to the hose. Your friends buzz and twitter in anticipation, so thrilled they are with you and your magical party-saving abilities. Some might call you a hero. You sure would.

You shush the masses, demanding that they watch your inaugural run in an awed, reverent silence. You raise your fists in a triumphant pose, clap your hands together and rub vigorously, assess the wind direction and velocity, and commence running. With long, graceful strides, you launch yourself towards the skinny yellow mat, putting out of your mind the fact that the only thing between you and a week's worth of painful nipple chafing is a thin, almost negligible skin of water sitting precariously atop a glorified camping tarp.

No matter. You did this when you were ten, there's certainly no reason to believe that your skills have gotten rusty. You hit the sheet at a frightening speed, dousing your guests with mildewed hose water and thrilling a lucky few with a sneak peak at what lies within your quickly-bunching bathing suit. You continue to hurtle down the length of the plastic, limbs flailing wildly, full of undeserved love and admiration for yourself and your magnificent coasting abilities. But you're concentrating so hard on keeping both hands in a rigid thumbs-up position that you don't even realize that your fanciful journey is about to draw to a devastating close.

By the time you can actually feel yourself nearing the brutal end, it's already far too late to rectify the situation. The utter slickness of the Fluorescent Mat O' Death casually eliminates all hope for any sort of stoppage or breaking maneuvers. There's nothing you can do now but close your eyes and pray for the end to be painless and dignified. It is neither. However, it's fairly swift. Your trip down Slippery Lane ends in an abrupt and jarring face plant into the lawn amidst a spray of grimy, mud-caked sludge. The rest of your body folds up behind you like an accordion, while your nose flattens to a degree previously unseen in human specimens. Dirt flies into your tear ducts. A dandelion jams itself into your retina. Blades of grass wedge between your teeth – you'll be picking them out for days. Your entire face now resembles The Secret Garden, and all because you couldn't steer your gangly, uncoordinated oaf of a body down a narrow strip of moldy plastic. For shame.

So if you want to suck, Slip 'n Slide 'n skid face first into a tuft of grass. Next time, you might want to think about springing for the Crocodile Mile set with built-in speed bump and splashdown pool. You'll be the coolest kid on the block, and you won't end up with a facial burn the size of Wyoming.