As long as I can remember, I have always loathed and resented being forced to participate in public acts of dance/vocal stupidity. Even as a preschooler, creeping hatred for humanity would set in when told we were about to engage in a vigorous round of classroom Hokey Pokey (or whatever action song they were foisting upon us). Not only do I have a lousy singing voice, fail miserably at any attempt to duplicate repetitive motion while singing, I hate doing things in a herd. I don’t fit in, and having to feign belonging is beneath me. Over all, I’m a very, very lousy sheeple, and being forced to conform for the benefit of someone else pisses me off.
Okay, I’ll admit, I like the spotlight to be on me, and me alone, but I like it to be for my own glory, when I elect to participate. There is no adequate gold star for being an awesome group Achy Breaky Heart dancer.
When I was about 7, I was finishing up the last of the pre-competitive figure skating levels that CanSkate laid out in the mid-80’s. Snow Vally Figure Skating Club’s group ice time was broken up into badge levels, and there were small pre-schoolers learning to skate at one end of the Tamitik Arena, and the kids that were getting ready to move on to private coaching and competition were at the other end. I was working on something mindblowingly difficult for me at the time – probably a camel spin or something – when we were all summoned to the little kid end of the ice. “Alright everyone! Good skating! Who wants to have fun?” Well, everyone, d’uh. “Great! Who is ready for The Chicken Dance?” Squeals of joy from one and all. Or at least, everyone but me. I remember instantly seeing red. The CHICKEN DANCE? What kind of loser does THE CHICKEN DANCE? I hated the chicken dance. The music, the intellectually insulting dance moves, and the idiotic ass wiggling? Who were they kidding? But the sheeple were thrilled. They cued the tape recorder. “Da na na na na na, na na na na na na, na na na na na na na CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP” Everyone around me, young and old was boogying down to the miserable anthem of sucktastic weddings everywhere. I stood there, sulking, arms crossed. I was NOT going to do the Chicken Dance. They could not make me. One of the volunteer coaches came over “Oh Tia! Are you okay?” I shook my head, and told her that I refused to do the Chicken Dance. Ever. She was aghast “But it’s fun! Everyone is doing it!” I just stood there, agitated by the fools around me, who had been purple-koolaided into participation. Eventually, the instructor came and booted me off the ice, because the song never ends, and I was boring craters in the ice with my toe picks. When my mother picked me up, they tattled on me, and told her that I wasn’t cooperative. My mother was annoyed, but admitted that she too had a deep, lifelong loathing for the lame ditty, and didn’t blame me for being mad. However, could I please participate to keep them happy?
No. Nyet. Nein.
This has a relevant point, I swear!
Yesterday night, I took my daughter to a Girl Guides “campfire” down town. I had pestered the group leaders for weeks about what the “campfire” entailed, but the best answer I got was “sitting in the snow for a couple of hours doing activities” and that the girls had been practicing a couple of songs for the “campfire.” Because my kid is pretty young, I elected to attend with her. When we arrived at our destination, it was -17, dark, and my toes were falling off before we even got seated (in the snow) a very safe distance AWAY from the campfire. The itty bitty campfire was so far away, that it provided us with no warmth at all. Fine. Fire bylaw. Whatever. Time ticked on, they were late getting started. 1100 people were at this “campfire” and the ONLY thing they did besides sit in the snow and sing was STAND UP AND DO ACTION SONGS. “Everyone get up, get warm, and pretend you’re a frog!! Let’s sing the frog song!!” and so on.
For 2.5 hours.
By the end, I was teetering on the verge of hypothermia, praying for swift and merciful death and cursing God for allowing me to walk into the sin den of action song/mandatory singing with action participation. I couldn’t escape. There was nowhere to go.
I didn’t want to pretend I was a frog.
Or a blowing sheath of wheat in the Manitoba wind.
Or that I was paddling a canoe.
Or stalking a badger.
So I sat there. On my ass. In the snow. Scowling into the dark, with flashbacks of figure skating Chicken Dance Trauma assaulting my brain, 1099 people around me gleefully romped in the snow, pretending to be trout in the lake while singing in four part rounds.
Hell? I was in it.
But, my daughter had a great time. She was enjoying the horrible sheeple activity!
…and I felt like a sow for not enjoying it for her/with her in spite of myself.
Next time, I’ll send my husband. Maybe he isn’t so prejudiced against the Electric Slide.