If I were a penguin, I’d be totally screwed – according to Happy Feet, anyway. Because while I can write the hell out of anything (she says overconfidently, as though she’s a published author rather than a desperate writer-in-waiting), I was absent (like on-another-planet-absent) the day they handed out tickets for the genetic lotteries of music and rhythm. Not that my disability prevents me from engaging in such activities; I just reserve the vocal and physical gyrations for two special occasions: 1) When I’m so drunk there’s no chance I’ll believe you the next morning when you try to tell me what I did last night, and 2) When I’m driving to and from work, not drunk, safely hidden from judging eyes and ears by 2 tons of steel. The former is a rare site – I mean, I just can’t throw ’em down like I used to (except for when I’m with my baby brother. He’s a bad influence on me.). That means the majority of my sold-out performances happen on my commute.
Thanks to Jock Jams.
Okay, I have a confession. There’s this CD called Jock Jams… are you still with me? See why I prefaced this by calling it a confession? Anyway, it’s so cheesy it’s good. Not only does it have all those late 80s and early 90s rap and dance tracks they always played at the basketball games and amusement park rides and under/over clubs, but they intersperse them with cheers and chants as if you were actually at said basketball game pretending to be interested in the athletic competition when really the only reason you went was so people wouldn’t know you were the only loser without any school spirit.
“It takes 2 to make a thing go ri-ight. It takes 2 to make it outta sight…”
Stop looking at me, you know I don’t like an audience!
Anyway, in the words of Randy Jackson, check this out, dog! Last month, I was driving to work, rockin’ the hell outta Everybody Dance Now, when I rolled up to the red light separating the high school and Starbucks. The median is usually packed with kids, but this time, there was just a lone girl, a rebel angel in tight jeans and a pastel baby t-shirt. And this girl, she just started dancing, all by herself on the median. I don’t mean like, bobbing her head or tapping her foot when no one was looking. She was out there. Twirling and bobbing and jumping around with her eyes closed. She didn’t even care who was around, and from behind the seclusion of my Jetta, I felt like she was dancing just for me. Me and C&C Music Factory.
I thanked the universe and arrived at work happy and hopeful that maybe, just maybe, the world would be okay for one more day. Well…
The following week, I was in a totally different ‘hood, waiting at a red light again, listening to Hip Hop Hooray. When what to my wandering eye should appear, but another girl dancing her butt off on the corner, waiting to cross the street. She didn’t have the tell-tale white iPod ear buds or anything. And there’s no way she could have heard my friend Treach blasting out my speakers (cuz she’s hot as a baker, cuz I’m Naughty By Nature, not cuz I hate ya…). She was just dancing, shaking her butt, moving her feet, eyes closed, oblivious to the world.
At this point I wondered whether the whole town was exposed to radon or jet fuel or something, but I arrived at work happy for one more day.
Last week, I drove by the school again (hey, it’s on my route – I’m not just stalking kids for book ideas or anything!), and this boy walked out into the school lawn in the middle of the morning, also sans iPod, and just started rockin’ out right there in the grass. He even went so far as to shake his fists in the air to the imaginary beat.
It filled my heart with glee-a-plenty. I mean, if kids can just start dancing to the music in their heads whenever they feel like it, wherever they are, no matter who might be watching, well, maybe this whole sorry planet won’t self-destruct after all.
And maybe, just maybe, there’s a place for me to dance to my own beat. In public. Sans alcohol. We have a saying in our family – I’m the writer, baby brother is the musician, middle brother is the artist, and never the twain shall meet. But we don’t have any dancers in the family.
My friends, in the words of Jock Jams’ premier vocalists, Tag Team…
Whoomp, There It Is!