Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Left My Harp in Sam Clam's Disco #3: Wherein the Author Pays Tribute to the King of Pop

The poster says "Cardio" and has a picture of Michael Jackson on it. I'm in.

Yes, aerobics classes are girly, but like, Long Island Iced Teas and My Best Friend's Wedding, they can certainly be fun in the right context. Regardless of your views of his personal life, there is no denying that Michael Jackson created some of the catchiest tunes in the Western Canon, and even step aerobics can be fun with the right tunes.

At [Company Name Redacted], the company genuinely cares about the health of its employees (for one thing, it reduces insurance premiums) and so not only does it provide multiple sets of Greek-style gymnasiums, it also provides various fitness classes designed to get people out of the cubicle and away from 4chan*. These encompass everything from classes in the ancient art of Bhangra, to yoga, to mud wrestling, to how to use your analytical ability to dance in clubs. They are all branded as [Name Redacted], a clever portmanteau of [Company Name Redacted] and [Noun Redacted].

I change after my work on the [Name Redacted] Project and emerge from the locker room in the [Name Redacted] Building in my go-to sweatwear: long black athletic shorts and a white undershirt. After walking [Distance Redacted] miles to work every day, I feel confident in my ability to keep up with even the most strident, Spartan-style workout master/mistress.

With my faithful friends and fellow interns [Name Redacted], [Name Redacted], and [Name Redacted], we confidently march into the gym, brandishing our authentic '80s style workout gear, and find dozens of awkwardly matched couples practicing their last tangos, dressed to the nines. Apparently, there are TWO different fitness classes on Wednesday afternoons, and the one we're looking for is in the other gym, which is all the way across campus.

With a level of tenacity that can only be described as "dangerous", we stride away, avoiding the giggles of the pretty young things at our bizarre '80s appearance; it's human nature, after all, to laugh at ridiculously dressed people. While there's a part of me that wants to tell them to beat it, unless they wanna be startin' somethin', even I'm not enough of a smooth criminal to get away with bold-faced intimidation, especially after stealing Billie Jean's bike yesterday. That incident was a thriller, lemme tell ya, but I just can't help being a thief; my whole motto is "don't stop till you get enough".

Finally, we reach the other gym and confidently stride through the doors, only to find about 40 people thrusting their hips in a suggestive manner. Apparently, there are two different DANCE classes on Wednesday afternoons, and the one we're looking for is right here.

There's a moment in every crisis where things come to a halt, and two possibilities loom in your face: the one that involves the red pill, and the one that involves the blue pill. I could back out here, pretend I actually meant to go hit the weights, oops sorry to bother you. Or I could follow the other interns, who aren't shaken at all by the fact that the "aerobics class" turned out to be a group of crotch-grabbing dance maestros. A group that, from all accounts, seems to be ready to reshoot every music video in the MJ canon, shot-for-shot, move-for-move, grab-for-grab. On one hand lies safety in the no, in the denial. On the other lies risk, in the yes, in the acceptance. I take a deep breath. In improv, we teach ourselves to always say "yes". So I do.

Of course, in improv, everything you do is right.

Let me try to spell this out a little more explicitly. In the metafictional, postmodern sentiment, I designate myself, in the semiotic fashion, to be a writer. While not particularly accomplished (or for that matter, published), I am justly and forthrightly proud of the prodigious lexicon I bear in my concentric cranial cavity, and moreover, I consider myself to have nothing but the largest, most eloquent and most granular vocabulary of anyone I have ever met, with a judgmental and nearly draconian watch over those drooling denziens of the Illiterati who would stoop to using simplistic (and low-entropy) words. I state this not in the hope of receiving some unadulterated praise from you, dear reader, but merely to underscore the gargantuan and unimaginable magnitude of what I am about to tell you: there are no words to describe how bad I am.

To compare me to a drunk trying to dance would be insulting a drunk. Our dance instructor, who has the kind of unyielding perkiness that a Montessori teacher or a Communist propaganda broadcaster would need to get a gold star, shows just a slight twitch when she looks in the mirror at the back line where I am "dancing", the kind of twitch that seeps through the tiniest crack in a steel-hard facade, the kind of twitch that crosses the face of a Civil War infantryman about to have his leg sawn off, or maybe Wedge Antilles when he had to abandon Luke at the Death Star. Watching me trying to dance a Michael Jackson routine is kind of like watching an overweight rabbit with cerebal palsy try to hop through a flaming hoop, with one foot replaced by a poorly-made wooden prosthetic whittled by ex-Soviet nuclear scientists working on immigrant visas at a pet limb replacement store.

And that STILL doesn't explain how terrible I was at this. The only way that someone could understand is if they saw, which, thanks to the fact that the entire thing was videotaped and YouTubed, and I'm the only one wearing a white shirt, they now can.

Star Wars Kid, I feel your pain.

*Do NOT google 4chan. Trust me.

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