When I was a young whipper snapper I was quite the dancer. I have found, however, that one dances better when one owns a fairly intact pair of knee caps. I have not had an ounce of cartilage in my knees since 1994.
The last time I danced publicly I prepared for it the way some people prepare for their bar mitzvah. Diligently, religiously, with some degree of trepidation.
I had gone to a bar with my friend Elvin one night and they were doing this wonderful dance called The Electric Slide. Oh, I was totally taken with it. Naturally, being more of a voyeur than a performer, I sat in a dark corner sipping on a beer. I loved watching people dance, I loved dark corners, and I enjoyed sipping on beer. I was convinced that my eternal reward would involve watching people dance as I sipped on a beer from a dark corner.
The more I watched the people dance to The Electric Slide, the more I longed to dance with them. I couldn’t get the music out of my mind.
So the following Monday after work I went out and bought the cassette of Marcia Griffiths singing The Electric Slide. I showed up at Elvin's apartment unannounced; I was so passionate about learning this dance I didn't even have the courtesy to tell him I was coming. He was very gracious, though - he invited me in, we moved some furniture around, and he showed me how to do it step by step. I left his house sometime after 1 am.
I lived and breathed The Electric Slide for two weeks, and finally I told Elvin I was ready, and we went back to the bar. Man, I was PUMPED!!!!
I got my beer, found my dark corner, watched, and waited, like a panther anticipating its prey.
Around 11:30 or so I heard those magical opening words through the PA system: "IT'S ELECTRIC!" Folks rushed to the dance floor, and Elvin looked around for me through the crowd, saw me, motioned for me to join him. I skipped gleefully across the room and took my place next to him. One can skip gleefully across the room when one actually owns a pair of knee caps.
I remember Elvin and I were on the front row.
Oh, my - what a dream come true! I dipped when I was supposed to dip, I turned when I was supposed to turn, I clapped when I was supposed to clap. Heck, I even faced the right direction all but once!
I also kicked when I was supposed to. This went well, the first few times. But about three fourths of the way through the song, so delighted with my great success was I, so tickled that I was still in step, that I hadn't stumbled - I kicked with a little extra enthusiasm. I kicked exactly when I was supposed to kick, and I kicked exactly in the direction that I was supposed to kick.
I kicked too hard. I kicked my right Birkenstock off my foot, and it soared gracefully across the room, much like a spiraling football. It landed in the middle of a table where a couple was sitting. They were not amused.
Now that I recall, Elvin never took me dancing again.