published Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Roberts: Do your dancing at home


by Dalton Roberts

I want to share a secret with you today about myself that is, frankly, a little embarrassing to a bashful Watering Trough boy. The only condition is that you must promise to never tell anyone about it.

The reason it is so important for you to keep quiet about it is that for decades I have turned down numerous requests from damsels requesting that I arise from my comfortable chair and rock 'n' roll with them while I was on break at some dancing venue. Not only did I not rock 'n' roll well enough to be seen on a dance floor, I really hated it.

The few times I tried it, people would snicker and point at me while I was jumping around like a spastic toad frog or paddlewheeling like the Southern Belle with a couple of paddles missing. The only person who rocked and rolled so pitifully was my old pal Hoyle Picklesimer, who looked like a wiener on a pogo stick.

Now that we have an understanding and I know I can trust you to never tell, here goes the embarrassing truth: I often rock 'n' roll when I am alone at home.

I know that conjures up an image of a water buffalo shaking the floor and the supporting structure of a house trying bravely to get out of a huge mud hole.

I do not know how I look dancing, but I have a good idea because I turned a cow loose in the hall of Tyner High School during the years I was exiled on that island. The floors had just been waxed with that heavy school wax, so slick you could water ski on it. Her hooves went in various directions, but not in any organized, predictable way. She finally splattered and bellowed very loudly right in front of the office of principal Cyril C. Burgner. I will never forget how ungraceful she was, nor how much my rocking and rolling would resemble her many years later.

L. Ron Hubbard, science-fiction writer and founder of Scientology, said some experiences are so bad they "engram" you -- a word meaning to indelibly brand the psyche so deeply that it affects your behavior for life. That cow engrammed my dancing for life.

So why did a man with such a horrid dancing record start dancing at home?

Two good reasons: for exercise in the winter months when you can't walk and, of course, because no one can see me. That's why I asked you to keep it our little secret.

One day I was listening to Delbert McClinton's "Never Been Rocked Enough" while thinking about Socrates learning to dance when he was 70 because he felt an essential part of himself had been neglected. So I hopped up and started moving in ways I had seen people move back when I played rock 'n' roll in local nightclubs. Since I couldn't do it like Rocking Raymond (the best I've ever seen), I chose Hoyle Picklesimer as my model.

OK! OK! I chose that cow at Tyner as my model. Now are you satisfied?

I could just blame the whole thing on Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote, "Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room."

Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.

about Dalton Roberts...

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ThinBlue706 said...

Thanks, Mr. Roberts, now I know I am not alone. That makes a old, fat, half-crippled man with no sense of rythm much more at ease dancing at home. I am sure my wife and dog will still look at me like I need to be committed. But, then again, don't most of us past fifty?

January 17, 2012 at 7:27 a.m.
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