Tag Archives: Dance Floor

The Luckiest Unluckiest Day Ever

It wasn’t until later that I realized he was born on Friday the 13th.

Unluckiest of unlucky days in Western culture, Friday the 13th is a triskaidekaphobics worst nightmare. It rarely comes about, but when it does, it’s usually wielding a machete and wearing a hockey goalie mask.

But not this month. On June 13, Casa de Dude celebrates! We kick up our heels and dance and sing (although not as much these days for reasons that should become apparent in only a few moments) and just generally enjoy life because June 13, this year falling on a Friday, is the day our family became complete.

Friday the 13th of June is Hyper Lad’s birthday. This is the year he’s turning 15, which means he’s already got his grubby little paws held out and ready to take the car keys and go for a little spin. The fact that he has no learner’s permit because his driver education teacher still hasn’t gotten around to him yet. . . Well, that means little.

He’s fifteen. He’s ready to drive. At least in his mind.

I say our family became complete because Hyper Lad is the youngest of our three young dudes. He’s six years younger than our oldest and five years younger than our middle son. In fact, we weren’t supposed to have Hyper Lad at all.

My wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting Her Way, and I thought we were finished procreating (although not practicing) after Zippy the Travelin’ Boy. Eventually, though, she began to yearn for another female in the house. Once she said that, it became apparent that I really needed a daughter as well since I look darn good on the dance floor wearing a tux at a wedding.

Instead, we got lucky and didn’t get our wish. Instead of a girl, we got a Hyper Lad and we couldn’t be happier.

Our oldest son, Sarcasmo, had to suffer through first-child paranoia as his mom and I freaked out about anything and everything related to our darling. Our middle son, Zippy the Travelin’ Boy, stayed sheltered in the harbor of our good graces and had vigilant parents every on guard. Relaxed, but on guard.

By the time Hyper Lad came along, we were pretty much okay with him doing just about anything short of juggling the razor-sharp blades we kept in the open, unlocked drawers in the kitchen. And even that, provided he had a good reason for it.

Having older brothers, Hyper Lad has benefited from being around (slightly) more mature age cohorts for most of his life. He’s probably more emotionally mature at 15 than his brothers were when they were his age.

Since he was smaller than everyone around whom he wanted to hang, he had to develop a quick left and an even quicker wit to survive. And he has.

His teachers see the same things that we do: one of the sharpest minds, with one of the most wicked senses of humor to have come around in a long while. He’ll frequently make an offhand joke about current affairs we happen to be discussing that’s amazingly quick, amazingly on-target and blisteringly funny.

His mom and I will just turn and look at each other — once the laughter finally dies down — and trade astonished gazes.

While Hyper Lad lives up to his name (and his blog name here), he’s not constantly rushing around and ignoring everyone else. The young dude is consistently polite (to non-dad people) in almost every situation and looks for ways to help everyone he can.

Not to say he’s perfect, of course. I mean, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve come thiiiiiiisssssss close to popping an aneurysm in my brain from the crap he will drop — literally drop — wherever it is he happens to be done with it. If that means he’s finished with a band-aid wrapper six inches from a trashcan. . . Then he drops the wrapper to the floor six inches from the trashcan.

And, being a teenager, he’s now discovered the joys of sleeping in until the sun warms up. . . say, sometime around 3 pm.

So, yeah, he’s got a lot of things to work on. But, here’s the deal about that: We’re just so glad we get a chance to watch as he does. It’s going to be an interesting experience.

Here’s to you, Hyper Lad! Have a happy birthday and know we love you. And we dearly want to live through you learning to drive, so please work on that.


We also take a moment to remember Hyper Lad’s Great Grandmother, my Grandmother, Irene Jones. A wonderful woman, my grandmother died three years ago. She and Hyper Lad were both born on June 13 and called each other Birthday Buddies. So here’s to you as well, Mama. You’re missed and loved.

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We Skipped The Light Fandango

I can not dance. At all. The most important word in that sentence is, of course, not. Seriously, ask my wife, known to me as She Who’s Got To Boogie, if I can dance and you’ll have to wait five or so minutes for her to stop laughing, get up off the floor and dust herself off before she can answer. Her answer? “No. No he can’t.”

Sad, but true.

I suffer from white man’s disease. Even worse, I suffer from Southern white man’s disease. Not only can’t I dance, but I think I can. See, I’m trying to be honest here. Maybe too honest, as it turns out.

Let’s try an experiment here. I want you to cast your mind back to middle school, or whenever you started going to dances that included the opposite sex. The lights were about half on and half off because, while the adults wanted it to look like a dance, they didn’t want to chance there being any sort of darkness where — you know — “baseball” could be played. There were colored lights flashing on and off somewhere in the room. Loud music, usually something that had been popular about a decade ago, was squelching out of speakers not designed for that sort of volume.

And, lined up against one wall, were the dudes. Lined up against the other wall were the dudettes. And in the middle? An empty dance floor, the lines from the basketball court looking all lonely out there alone.

Eventually, someone would cross to the other side, grab another person from the wall and drag them out to the middle. That would normally break the ice and most of the walls would empty.

I, however, would not be one of those dancing. Even at that early age, I knew that wailing around on the dance floor like a spastic chicken having just been shortened by about a head’s height would not be good for my rep. Such as it was. So I, like a lot of Southern boys, learned to chair dance. That is, I’d sit in a chair and try to tap my feet to the music. Try to find the beat. It was practice, you see, for when I would eventually have to hit the dance floor and found that all I could do, really, was tap my feet to the beat and move my arms just a little.

Now. I told you that story so I could tell you this one.

Apparently, the dance gene did skip a generation. My middle little dude, Zippy the Monkey Boy, likes to think of himself as a bit of a Lothario. A dude with the moves, you see, but without the intent to deceive.

Zippy has more confidence and dancability in his little finger than I’ve got in my whole body. I found this out when I was looking at the pictures from his school’s prom. In almost every picture he was in, he was dancing. Out on the floor and moving like there was to be no tomorrow.

I asked him about it and he said, “Yeah. I am.” Then he told me a story about a kid he didn’t like and who didn’t like him. This dude came up to him and said, “I hate to admit it, (Zippy), but you’re a pretty good dancer.”

Even though I have no idea what that would feel like, I’m going to try and do my best to encourage him. Being able to dance will certainly come in handy when he wants to actually talk to the girls around him during a dance. I mean, it’s a lot easier for folks who can do it to get up and dance than it is to find something to talk about that won’t make you look like an idiot.

Trust me. I say this from experience. Because, lucky me, I get to look like an idiot whether I’m dancing or not.

— Richard

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