I’ll be the first one to admit that I really don’t have any rhythm. For some reason, I was born with an ear for music, but my body doesn’t have a clue. For those of you who are fifty or older, I was that guy back in the 70s and 80s that you laughed at if I dared to go on a dance floor. I looked like a cross-wired robot flailing limbs all over the place. I usually never got a second dance with anybody and I would notice they drank a little more heavily after dancing with me. I think they were trying to drink away the embarrassment.
It all began when I was about 8 years old. This is when I discovered that I was completely rhythm-less. I was asked to be a ring-bearer at a wedding and my parents were thrilled. They fitted me in my little tux and dress shoes about 4 months before the wedding. When the wedding day arrived, I had already outgrown my shoes. I was miserable. What made it worse was that the flower girl stood a good foot taller than me and seemed to despise me. I really don’t think any 8 year old should have to deal with that kind of pressure.
At the reception, just after the bride and groom dance, it was expected that the wedding party (groomsmen and bridesmaids) dance the second song. Fortunately for me, it was a slow dance…I thought at the time I could pull it off. Unfortunately for me, I had to dance with the flower girl…while wearing too-tight shoes…and with the flower girl pretending to smile. I managed to get through it with only stepping on her feet a half-dozen times. She wasn’t happy. When we finished, I learned some words from her that I hadn’t known before. Later, my brothers informed me they were words I wasn’t allowed to use.
When the formal dances were over, most of us kids left the main floor for a separate room reserved just for us. They had tables covered with snacks and a jukebox for our listening pleasure. I took advantage of being away from the adults to take off those awful shoes. I felt so free after that so I decided to dance with the other kids. Remember, I was only 8 years old so I didn’t know how awful of a dancer I was yet.
A couple of my favorite songs were played and I went on the dance floor to show off my non-existent skills. The first song was “Temptation Eyes” by the Grassroots and I moved my body all over the floor to the music…or so I thought. Of course, my most critical brother had to point out how stupid I looked. He pointed out that all I did was move my feet around.
CRITICAL BROTHER: Your arms look like limp noodles.
I took his criticism to heart and resolved to do better on the next song. I was overjoyed to hear that it was “Dizzy” by the Archies. It was actually sung by Tommy Roe, but my copy of the song that I cut out from the back of a cereal box said otherwise. It was the Archies and I decided to dance like what I saw them do in the cartoon. I kept my feet still and swung my arms like I was a Rockem Sockem Robot. I made it only a minute into the song before hearing the laughter all around me. It only took a glance to see everybody was laughing at me. I ran out of the room.
I attempted to dance a few other times in my life, but even though I had foregone the earlier styles of dancing from the wedding, I still looked comical at every attempt I made. It wasn’t until I discovered slam-dancing that I found my unique niche in the dance world. That type of dancing required only two skills…jumping around like an idiot and slamming into the people around you. I was born for that kind of dancing. The only problem was that it was dominated by guys. It really didn’t impress too many girls and I grew tired of dancing with guys.
It always puzzled me that I could run quickly across a monkey bridge, step lightly and gracefully on any sports field, and speed across rocks in a stream to get to the other side, but couldn’t perform a dance move to save my life. It just wasn’t meant to be. I would definitely make a better DJ than a dancer.