At this stage in life I have come to appreciate the value of maintaining a routine.
I enjoy setting up the coffee pot the night before so I needn’t be awake enough to manipulate the paper filters that are hopelessly out of focus the next morning. If I can manage to zero-in on the day-glo switch long enough to toggle it alive, my day has successfully begun.
My morning TV viewing habits are entrenched as well. I am fond of sitting in an altered state of consciousness while I listen to Matt or Katy’s voice slowly gain clarity. Much like the coffee pot, my TV is preset by default from the night before. I usually drift off just after the network news.
That is why you can imagine my surprise one morning a few weeks ago when I zombie-plopped into my easy chair, inhaled the heated ethers of Maxwell House and snapped on the remote. The blare of rock music blew hot coffee onto my beard.
Too late I remembered having grown bored with the news the night before and switching channels.
And that, gentle people, is how I became aware of an early AM show called—are you ready? The Grind.
Once I got the volume under control I set about the business of trying to figure out what I was watching. At first I thought young people were dancing—like on American Bandstand? Wrong.
Oh, there was a young lady smiling into the camera and snapping her fingers to the beat of the music all right. Outside of the fact that she was wearing a leather mini-skirt, a jewel in her navel and an anemic bikini top, nothing was amiss.
Suddenly, the camera plummeted to ground level angling up the length of her thighs. The resulting graphic would have made a midwife blush. Just then the music surged. The young lady looked down into the camera and began wiggling herself into the lens, and therefore, at me.
Before I had time to feel in any way special about that, the camera dollied back to reveal a young man, apparently her partner. Inexplicably, he seemed to be wearing a leather mini-skirt as well but I couldn’t be sure, I was still clawing sleep from my eyes.
About then she turned toward him and, you guessed it, wiggled herself in his direction for awhile. Being every bit the gentleman he appeared to be, he responded by pulling his tee shirt up to his sternum and, pivoting with military precision, proudly wiggled right back at her.
After throwing the rest of my coffee over my shoulder I remembered to breathe. Willard had never awakened me so unceremoniously. Not even in his Carmen Miranda getup.
About then the camera found wings and soared above the entire scene to reveal what looked like several hundred sparsely clad young people, arrayed about a swimming pool. Unlikely to be surprised at this point I nodded matter-of-factly as they all turned and began wiggling themselves at each other.
The kids had been loosely choreographed. The swimming pool set on which they danced was studded with plastic palm trees. Some of the kids danced in pairs, as the first couple I’d seen. Others danced by themselves under the plastic trees and were reduced to wiggling themselves at the styrene tree trunks.
Still others, presumably the least talented dancers, had been posted about the outer perimeter, facing away from others. They forlornly wiggled themselves at nothing whatsoever. It seemed rather an empty and pathetic gesture.
Yes, I can hear you now. You’re saying, “Those kids weren't wiggling anything...they were just dancing with the same pelvic gyrations that our parents blanched at when Elvis Presley introduced them forty-five years ago.”
No. They were wiggling themselves. I can tell the difference.
I’m not an idiot.
Now don’t get me wrong young ones. I do not object to this on any prudish pretense of moral indignation. My concern is not so much for your immortal souls, just your personal dignity.
I do not object to prima facie wiggling but I do council against it. I’ve never heard of anything good resulting from the practice. I know I seldom resort to it anymore.
You see, my children, this is where my generation did a great disservice to yours. We didn’t leave you anything with which to shock us. We who lived through the 60’s are essentially shock proof. Remember—we invented Alice Cooper.
Oh, it’s true that wiggling yourselves might briefly get our attention. It may even cause some of us to throw coffee over our shoulders. You’ve shocked us into paying attention, but what then? If your opening gambit is an undulatory wiggle, you’d better have a pretty damn good idea what you’re going to do next.
What happens on that day that you wiggle yourself smartly and your best efforts elicit nothing but yawns? What will you do then? Talk about being left with egg on your face.
Each new generation is convinced that they alone are responsible for the invention of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll and that they can use them to shock their elders.
Do you really want to rattle us? Here's a happy thought.
Why don’t you all get jobs and clean your rooms?
Talk about a shock.