heel, ball change, (curb)stomp—just give me my sunglasses, bitch
Due to a conversational miscalculation and the desperate need to lighten a brutally unbearable situation I revealed to several coworkers that as a child I tap danced.
Fearing a coworker conspiracy to coerce my mother into sharing the lone piece of photographic evidence in her possession, which would require this cabal simply to call her and ask for it, I’ve decided to thwart these evil schemers and preemptively release the desired photo.
But don’t make any assumptions about my mother’s loyalty given her proclivity for providing embarrassing photographs of her son to any bold enough to ask, I was just that fucking adorable as a little kid.
I would like to note that in this photograph I am flanked by two lovely young ladies, one perhaps a bit more engaged by the situation than the other, but worth mentioning for the fact that clearly, as a five year old I had more game than in the entirety of my life since then.
I don’t remember the song I was supposed to tap dance to, although it would be easy enough to find out. It would only take hooking up a VCR, if those are even compatible with TVs anymore. A stack of VHS tapes is like finding an old box of 3.5-inch floppy disks. The idea of its nostalgic contents is exciting, but completely inaccessible.
What I do remember is being scared of the lights on stage. I’d never been onstage being, and it was a big stage. Huge lights, lights as big as my head, lined the edge and blasted me and my little white tuxedo. It was terrifying. So I asked my dance teacher, the owner of the school in fact, if I could wear sunglasses on stage. I had to be able to see after all, it made perfect sense, and not just to me since she agreed to it.
Apparently not everyone got the memo. There were a handful of moms backstage to corral the two dozen kids and shove us all out on stage and with all the little bits of costumes on right. One of the duties these moms were apparently not made aware of was letting me wear my damn sunglasses.
I probably cried. I tried to tell her that Miss Terrie said I could, but she didn’t listen, she took them away, wouldn’t let me onstage with them on. I was furious.
A five year old has very little power, and one’s recourse against an adult (and not just any adult, but a mom) is very limited. Pouting, actually is the only recourse. And that’s exactly what I did.
As the only boy in this tap class I was dead center, and dead still. All the girls, spread out on either side of me from one end of the stage to the other, they danced their little heads off. And I stood there, arms folded, totally still, refusing to move without my sunglasses.
Logically speaking, if I feared being blinded by the stage lights it makes sense that I should then go out there and not move. To dance at all would be to put myself in danger—I could trip, I could fall, I could knock over one the girls and take out that whole tap line like a row of dominoes. No, for safety’s sake, my only option was stand as perfectly still as possible. Plus, I’m a stubborn little prick.
So while there may be video evidence to go along with the photo above, since I didn’t get to wear my sunglasses on stage there, actually is no evidence that I ever truly was a tap dancer.