Living

When it comes to dancing, I've got the white stuff

More than once, I’ve been accused of being too white. It hurts because it’s usually white folks who call me that, and they oughta know. At least my black friends are sensitive enough not to point out the glaringly obvious.

There are two main occasions when I get called this. One is when I take off my shirt at the pool, beach or Riverwalk and blind bystanders. The other is when I dance. (There was a third, but I gave up the sport of basketball at age 13.)

I’m offended by the implication that just because someone’s white that they can’t dance. Heck, some of my best friends are white. And Michael Jackson’s being too white didn’t keep him from dancing — well until he got dead and stuff.

And I’ll be the first to admit that even a dead Michael Jackson is a slightly better dancer than I am. But if you’re really good at dancing like Fred Astaire or the Wiggles, then it becomes more like work than fun. It’s like bowling or golf — if you get too good at them, it kills the fun. Although, I have found that my inability to break 80 on the golf course put a big dent in my professional golf aspirations.

But it’s not like I haven’t made the effort to improve my dancing. At the age of 13, I had a “Learn to Breakdance!” poster on my bedroom door with all the instructions. Although, my poster should have read “Learn to Look Like You’re Having a Seizure When-ever You Hear the Music of Midnight Star!”

Back home, almost every party gets to a time-to-dance point — shortly after beer-thirty, I believe. And most folks hit the floor. Of course, then somebody will help them up and they can get back to trying to dance.

Short of a jealous spouse or two, there’s not much that keeps me from dancing at a party. Not even my big toe, which has been sore since I went all Mel Gibson on my lawnmower about five years ago. I knew it was dangerous to put your foot anywhere near moving lawnmower blades, but who knew the thing was so dangerous to kick when it won’t crank?

I think part of it is that I’m 40 years old and either too old to change or too old to care what anyone thinks. I should be self-conscious about my inability to dance and my being so white, and God knows I’d hate to have to watch myself dance. Fortunately, only others have to watch me dance, not me.

Of course, if the party is a pool party that turns into a dance party, my being so white will have at least one benefit — when my shirt comes off, most folks will be blinded so that they won’t have to witness my dancing. And maybe a pretty girl will be blind enough to dance with me!

Chris Johnson, cjohnson@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-320-4403

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