Dance and I have a long bloody history. We never got along, and would scorn each other openly. It all started in grade 1. Each week we took time in class to sing songs like “All Around the Kitchen Cocka-Doodle-Doodle-Do,” “Octopus’s Garden,” and other kid-friendly songs.
Ok, I need to pause the story of my and Dance’s unnerving feud because “kid-friendly songs at school” just came up. This is important to share…
You see, sometimes I really questioned the judgment of my elementary school teachers when it came to the songs they picked for us to sing together in class. In the second grade I remember my teacher playing “Turkey in the Straw” for us. I’m sure you know it, and maybe are thinking to yourself, Ah I remember that little classic. Harmless, light-hearted jingle. Well, your mind will change it’s tone when you hear this: One of the lines we’d sing together AS CHILDREN was “Well, I had a little chicky but she wouldn’t lay an egg, so I poured hot water up and down her leg.” Yeah that’s right! We sang that. As little kids. But it gets worse: “Well, the little chicky cried and the little chicky begged, and the gosh-darned chicky laid a hard-boiled egg!”
Whoa! So this is what we’re saying “ha ha ha” to in this song? A chicken begging for the torture to stop while the oppressor laughs and dreams of having an egg? Like, is cereal out of the question here? Oh, but it gets even better. Then, in grade 4 we all strummed on our newly assigned ukuleles singing, “Lay down your head Tom Dooley. Lay down your head and cryyyyyy. Lay down your head Tom Dooley, for you’re about to diiieeee!” And if you thought that was bad, here’s another gem from that little ditty: “I met her on the mountain. There I took her liiiiiife. Met her on the mountain. Stabbed her with my kniiiiife.” I promise you I am not making this up! Yes, dear reader, my teachers in my elementary school years were one sadistic bunch. I can only imagine what that group of now retired educators have been up to lately.
But I guess I turned out ok, so whatever.
Back to me and Dance. When I was in grade 1, we were not only introduced to singing in class, but also to square dancing in the gymnasium. For my friends and I this terrible ordeal seemed like hours, and my words would not suffice to describe our agony. I would gladly have been a gosh darned chicky getting hot hater on my leg than to swing my partner and doe-see-doe in place of glorious dodgeball. I was always embarrassed to be dancing with a girl. I was young and didn’t like girls. But ironically, it was WAY worse when there was a shortage of females in the class and I was paired with a fellow boy. I hated those times so much that in the third grade I asked my teacher if I could sit out for religious reasons. I told her my church didn’t allow dancing. And it worked!
Around the same time I was invited to a birthday party. It was my best friend’s cousin’s twelfth and when we arrived, her mother told us to go into the living room with the others. The entryway into said living room, however, had a blanket hanging down so you couldn’t see in. My friend and I were both nervous. We knew that beyond the blanket were peers of ours—boys and girls. And music would playing with the expectation of dancing. We hated dancing! We were embarrassed by it! And now all eyes would be on us when we entered. But we mustered up the courage, walked in, and sure enough: all eyes were on us. All the lights and alarms in the little amygdala part of my brain were going off like crazy. Run for the hills! Get out of there! Don’t let the friend’s-cousin’s-mother find you! Forget the cake. RUN! For a solid hour we kids stood with backs against the wall looking at each other. On my way home all I could think was I can’t believe I was at a dance! I wondered what my Sunday school teacher would think. I imagined pleading with him, “Honestly, I thought it was just a birthday party!”
There are other incidents and accidents involving Dance and me, of which I shall refrain from telling as I neither want to bore nor terrify you. I will say, however, that our disdain for each other resulted in my not attending my own prom. That and I was as cheap as my Scottish name and heritage would suggest, and tickets were $40 each. $40!! That’s where they getcha!
But I did finally come to terms with my dreaded arch enemy. I was well into my thirties and was enjoying a fancy meal with my wife in Greece. We were there with other Pampered Chef consultants and their spouses (a business franchise in which my wife is a director) and we had a big celebratory meal together on the last day of our visit to this beautiful Mediterranean country. After the dinner there was a dance. For the first time in my life I saw people dancing, having the time of their lives and thought to myself, “That looks like fun.” Up to that point, the best I could do is look sideways at Dance and sneer, or make fun of him with some mocking MJ or Los Del Rio moves. But now, it looked fun. And my wife looked beautiful. “Wanna dance?” I asked her. She was surprised, unsure, and even blushed a little. Neither of us knew how to dance. Neither of us would have much confidence in our abilities amoungst the other happy, dancing couples. But we got up, danced like fools and had a wonderful time.
Congratulations Footloose. This is your week.
And Happy 11th Birthday Luke!
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters. She’s one of the all time greats in the actress category. She’s played a variety of roles, and though I haven’t seen her in a ton of movies, I’ve never seen her not excel.
Best Actor: Sean Astin in The Goonies. Love that movie! Though a second favourite would be Jonathan Ke Quan. He seemed to be typecasted in this movie just as he does in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but he’s awesome in both.
Best Quote: “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!” — Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters. Though it’s worth repeating the one submitted by James: “Hey, that salmon came all the way from Nova Scotia, Canada.” — Rick Moranis as Louis Tully in the same movie.
And I’d like to add that my favourite dancer in movies isn’t Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Gray, John Travolta, or even PeeWee Herman. It is Gene Kelly, the master of rug cutting in Singin’ in the Rain. If you haven’t seen this movie, I promise you’ll love it, or at least really really like it. If you don’t, I will personally buy you any movie of your choice. Scout’s honour. I may even dance for you.