After the dance Friday night my beloved Jan told me that Liz, her son's girlfriend, had commented on the behavior of Cybil, the woman who'd audaciously plucked me from Jan's side toward the end of the evening to invite me onto the dance floor with her. I'd never seen Cybil before in my life, but we did a foxtrot. Buddy Canova, our favorite one-man-band immediately went into a repetition of the Cupid Shuffle and I kept Cybil on the floor with me to do it too. Others, lots of others, got up also to enjoy this simple, highly syncopated line dance.
On the drive home Jan had showcased my attractiveness to women and this Cybil's chutzpah in snatching me right from under her. The next day Jan told me that Liz had commented further on Cybil's rudeness by reporting that during the Cupid Shuffle Cybil had repeatedly bumped into her.
Ah! I explained the situation, and some core of its significance, to Jan. I repeat it to you here – it has more than one moral.
Background details are necessary:
We were at the American Legion, Lake Placid FL.
Buddy Canova is a hell of a musician, playing and singing with digital support.
My dancing is celebrated at the Legion, and elsewhere, and has been since 1950 or so. I've been teaching line dancing around Highlands Country for three years now, having learned it myself only three years ago.
The Cupid Shuffle is a recording in which the singers call the dance steps. It's four basics to the right, four basics to the left, four kick and replace steps, and four funky twentyish degree turns adding up to 90 degrees: to face a new wall. The singing instructions don't begin till well into the number. I begin the dance as soon as I feel a clear "5, 6, 7, 8 ..." On the recording used at our Thursday night Legion session, I always come out in synch with Cupid, the song leader. When other bands play other recordings, most mixing their own singing and playing with the recording, karaoke style, I don't always come out in synch. Typically I'm the first one up, the dance leader. In that case, once the recorded "to the right" comes along, I loudly "correct" the group: and everyone joins me in synch.
When I thus "lead" a line dance, I take the center of the floor, face the audience, my back to the band, and begin.
Ball room dances are improvised. A bull could cross the dance floor during a number and skilled dancers can avoid both each other and the bull: like mosquites getting missed by your snatching hand. But not line dancing. In line dancing the whole line (or set of lines) have to synchronize: like the Rockettes. A bull crossing a line dance floor will cause havoc.
OK. Liz told Jan that Cybil had been bumping her. Here's what happened. Cybil asked me to dance. We did. Buddy went right into the Cupid Shuffle: for the second time: we'd already had twenty or thirty people up for that same line dance. Cybil and I were in the corner of the floor on the band stand side. Thus: I was already with a partner. There was no time for me to take the center of the floor. So Cybil and I merely began. Others arrived. But they didn't follow me (and Cybil): and they didn't coordinate with the wall rotation our dancing had already established.
Buddy's Cupid is one regularly out of synch with the dance if begun at his 5, 6, 7, 8. Buddy is a musician, not a dancer. He isn't coordinated with a choreographer, or a dance director. When Cupid began his "to the right," I loudly corrected everyone else's synch with my dancing, except that the others adjusted to my count but still stayed oriented to a wall not my wall.
I'm the first dancer on the floor. They should be oriented to my wall. The Christians should coordinate with the already established Jews, not the Jews adapt to the newcomer Christians. If MacArthur is marching the troops, and Rommel arrives with his troops on the same field, Rommel should coordinate with MacArthur, not just let the troops bump into each other: unless you want the practice to be the war.The last time I was in Vermont the modesty rule for the swimming hole was very simple: whoever got there first set the rule: nude, or bathing suits. If the girl and her data are at the swiming hole first thing in the morning, and some more guys arrive, they have to don suits. If the guys were there first and then the couple arrive, it's skinny hour. When I'm dancing the Shuffle facing the north wall, others arriving should adopt the same orientation, turning west with me.
The Big Bangers say that the universe began with a Singularity. There was nothing, infinite, eternal nothing. Then here was a Singularity. It happened. It could happen again. Not likely. But then the Singularity itself wasn't likely. Just possible. And given enough possibility, it will happen. So: I've enjoyed the thought for decades, What if: a new Singularity occurs, spontaneously, instantly, in the enormous expanse of empty space between the proton and the electron of a hydrogen atom in your elbow? Talk about a tumor! If that Singularity was like ours it would expand at its speed of light, very fast. That universe could rip this universe up pretty well. Or: that universe could, in time, obliterate this universe. Or: that universe could be absorbed by this universe.
Save for a separate meditation the dynamics of this universe being matter and the new universe being something like anti-matter ... and so forth. It could be a real mess. The old god could eat the new god, the new god could eat the old god ... or, after the new god had eaten the old god, the old devil could reach out and gobble the new god ... Physics could change. But, if there are still people, though their religion would change, it might not in any way reflect what actually happened!
On the dance floor, as elsewhere, I'm a natural leader. But kleptocrats hate natural leaders. Socrates got pressed to commit suicide, Jesus got arrested, got Rome's version of a fair trial, got scourged, crucified. And the people who stood with their thumb in their ass then join the priesthood and say they represent Jesus. Boy, I can't wait till a real Judgment where we hear what God and Jesus really say: if we let them get a word in.
Buddy's a musician. Music is counting in large part, so's dance. Buddy should know the dance steps and time his version so that "5, 6, 7, 8" will mesh with "to the right, to the right." Buddy should see me on the floor, and give me time to get to the center, where I'll be most visible: or, take me aside and say, "Paul, let someone else lead this one: you led the last one. You're always leading them. Take five."
I resist the temptation to corner the Legion's boss and suggest that he let me consult with his bands on coordinating music and dancing. In West Side Story, in any stage production, music and dance, have to coordinate. Leonard Bernstein has to be able to talk to and listen to Jerome Robbins. A director has to make them both behave (as a producer makes a director behave, and bankers make the producer behave). Lou is a musician, but I doubt that his training is very deep. He doesn't strike me as knowing the dances, or caring. The other musicians he hires screw up all the time, get their rhythms wrong, show that They Can't Count! without any correction from him, at least not any that's visible to me. I resist because I am not a member, don't want to become a member, can't afford the dues, but don't want to loose my main dancing venue. If Lou sees that I'm not a member I may get 86'd right there: lose my mine of alternate dance partners.
Picture this pacifist dancer dancing before an American Legion mural of war: ships burning, tanks burning, oil slicks aflame! Where else am I supposed to go? If my fellow Americans had simple murdered me the first time I complained about having to go to school, then the bomb droppers could do whatever they want to the Cupid Shuffle. They don't deserve to have me to coordinate them.
There isn't enough wealth in the history of the world to compensate me for what's already been done to me. And why would I get a penny's compensation before Jesus got compensated? or Socrates? or Crazy Horse? or John Sutter?
I post this: then rewrite it, from scratch: better, in better order.