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Sunday, January 11, 2015

I Can't Dance, I Can't Sing...And That's Okay!

Okay, I will get to what is going through my mind on this very cold, very icy January day.  But to give you a bit of an idea as to what this topic will be about, I'm posting this music video.  I figure it will be a nice throwback to the days in which I used to do Sunday Jukebox entries.

ARTIST:  Genesis
SONG:  I Can't Dance
ALBUM:  We Can't Dance
DATE RELEASED:  December 30, 1991

Ah, yes, Genesis.  This is a group that has gone through some changes over the years.  When they first began, Peter Gabriel was the lead singer and Phil Collins played the drums.  Then Peter Gabriel left the band to do a solo career, and Phil took over as lead singer.  Then Phil did some solo work putting Genesis on hiatus for a while.  Some could consider their 1991 album "We Can't Dance" a comeback album of sorts (their previous work was 1986's "Invisible Touch"), but I wouldn't classify it as such, since Phil Collins didn't actually leave the band. 

Anyway, enough about that.  Because I'm shifting my focus in this blog from pop culture, I won't be going into too much detail about the song.  Instead, I'll be focusing on the meaning of the song and how it kind of relates to some memory that I have.

All you have to do is listen to the first few lines of the chorus and that will basically describe what I was during the first decade of living.

I can't dance, I can't talk
Only thing about me is the way that I walk
I can't dance, I can't sing
I'm just standing here selling everything

Very little has changed since then.  I still can't dance.  I still can't sing.  And while my walking style has since improved, I can't say that it will get me booked at any "Fashion Week" events.

(Well, okay, there's also the fact that I am also chunky too.  Runways don't like the chunk.)

Oh, and I only highlighted the first three lines of this chorus as well.  The only selling I did as a child was when I sold boxes of chocolates, wrapping paper, and ornaments during the Christmas fundraisers between grades two and eight.

I'm not going to deny the fact that as a child I was clumsy and uncoordinated.  I was a walking time bomb back in those days. 

I guess if I could describe myself as a cartoon character from the past, it would be that comic book character named Pat the Brat.  He was a precocious little boy who often got himself into a lot of trouble just for being a curious and inquisitive little kid.  He was someone who was admittedly very clumsy and awkward, and often did terrible things by complete accident.  He was a brat, sure, but compared to some of the kids that I see running around the store I work at, he's a complete angel.

Anyway, I consider myself cut from the same cloth because like Pat the Brat, I didn't consider any of the things that I was doing to be wrong until someone pointed it out.  Rudely, might I add.

See, whenever I would read Pat the Brat cartoons, I would laugh at the silly antics that he did until he got caught.  And then he was made a spectacle for public humiliation by everyone else.  I didn't quite like that part because I don't feel that humiliating anyone for the payoff of a cheap laugh is much fun - especially when the scapegoat is a child. 

And the reason why I didn't find it funny was because I knew what Pat was going through. 

Now, I suppose some of you probably would argue that Pat caused a lot of unintentional damage to his home, the supermarket, and his school and that some of it might have been warranted to set him on the straight and narrow.  But in my case, I felt like I was singled out for things that I couldn't control and made to feel like some sort of freakish science experiment gone wrong.

And back to the Genesis song we go.

First of all, I will admit that I can't dance.  I used to try to cut a rug on the dance floor.  I ended up shredding the linoleum.  I was horrible back then, and I still don't consider myself a wonderful dancer.  I actually am the type of person who will refuse to go out on a dance floor unless I get a ton of liquid courage inside of me.

Liquid courage being code for alcohol, of course.

And yeah, people made fun of the fact that Elaine from "Seinfeld" had better moves on the dance floor than yours truly.  But that was fine for me, since I never really aspired to be a professional dancer.

And I'll also admit that I had trouble talking when I was a kid.  I suppose part of that could stem from the fact that I didn't say my first word until I was almost three years old.  I'll be the first to admit that waiting until age three to speak was quite late in life.  So late that people actually believed that something was wrong with me.  Of course, I proved them to be wrong, and I can now speak quite well. 

Singing also doesn't come naturally to me.  I am very much tone deaf.  I remember in Christmas concerts, I was always shoved behind scenery, or made to hide in the back row so that people wouldn't hear how terrible I was.  Upon retrospect, that was probably a horrible thing that was done to try and remedy a problem.  But I am not denying that I couldn't sing a note to save my life back then and still can't today.

And, then there's the way that I walk.  Or, rather, the way that I walked.  The way that was handled is something that I can't quite forgive so easily.  Because it was something that I had no control over.

I said this before, and I'll say it again.  My walking ability was messed up as a kid, though I didn't think it was.  So I walked on my toes about 99% of the time.  It was the only way I felt any comfort.  My arches in my feet were slow in development and whenever I tried walking flat-footed, I felt intense pain.  It got to the point where I went into a hospital so that they could do tests on why I was having problems walking in a way that the world considered "normal".  The problem did eventually go away over time, and by the time I was twelve, my feet had corrected themselves enough, but prior to that was rough.  The other kids in the class didn't understand, so they made fun of me.  The teachers that I had didn't understand, and they made fun of me too.  And the school's idea to correct the problem was to send me out of class with a social worker and forced me to walk around the school with books on my head to correct something that really wasn't bothering anybody else.

Was this how schools worked back in the 1980s?

Anyway, the point that I want to make is that not everybody is good at everything.  I openly admitted to being poor in a lot of different things.  But there are lots of other things that I am fantastic in, and I think that we should all focus on what everyone's strengths are...instead of tearing people apart for things they cannot change.

That's just my thought on the matter. 

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