Not an actress
Tuesday, August 29, 2006, 8:52 PM
As a kid, my dream of being a Dallas cheerleader was never going to happen—I wasn’t allowed to say much more than two, six, four, eight, who do you appreciate, and my boobs were never going to fill out those midriff length tie tops—so dancing was my thing. When I wasn’t jumping rope to Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, I was helping make up dance routines to Sister Sledge’s We Are Family, Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust and Blondie’s Rapture. It was easy to make up a dance routine to Rapture.
Go out to the parking lot
And you get in your car and you drive real far
And you drive all night and then you see a light
And it comes right down and lands on the ground
And out comes a man from Mars
And you try to run but he's got a gun
And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
It was a three-girl group: me, Rhonda and Tracy. Four girls if Jenny didn’t have laundry or dinner duty, five of us if Charlie’s mom was feeling charitable, six of us if she wasn’t. Marky was a cute backstop, but he was more of a pain in the neck than a pouty lip hip swisher because he had an irritating habit of moving and singing to his own beat. And we took our dance performances seriously. As the oldest, Tracy was usually the choreographer, although Rhonda was known for pelvic grinding and I for a prehistoric version of an epileptic running man. Trying to move simultaneously was next to impossible, but we always gave it our best shot and we had a blast trying to make it all happen.
We Are Family was a favorite among the adults, probably because even as kids we understood that family should, er, unite in some way. I don’t remember the moves, but they were the most evenly timed of any of the dances we put on for the unwary present, and probably showed each us raising our right arm slowly over our heads in unison; doing a left-to-right foot pivot simultaneously, bumping our left hip forward and stopping dead for one beat to nail our audience with a coquette–ish drop dead, Fred look. Of course, when you end the performance by pelting your audience with Tootsie Rolls and Now-n-Laters, you’re bound to be a success.
As we got older, the dancing gigs morphed into summer plays. Well, one, co-authored by Tracy and I, Bernstein Bear style. It was awful and I think the unlucky adults subjected to it about choked on their sighs of boredom, but I laugh whenever I think of that play. It’s a lot like a Hollywood actor's life and how it can all go to pot if you don’t have a good writer or director. Then again, the bumps and crazy-idiot-stupid stuff make for the best times, so I'm just as content to be a bit player and not an actress.