When I was a little kid my parents took me to New York for a trip where we stayed at a fancy midtown hotel. This was the city where my Dad grew up, but when he lived there as a kid he didn’t stay in a fancy midtown hotel – he lived in a tiny apartment in the Bronx, which, for those not familiar with New York, is not the best part of town. When my dad got a little older he learned that his father was actually making a good living as a very successful lawyer, but kept the five person family in a tiny two bedroom apartment in the poor part of town because he was cheap. So cheap, in fact, that he used to wait until Christmas eve to go out to get a tree. He did this because he could catch the guys loading the trees onto trucks to be hauled away around midnight and buy one for a quarter or less. Rather than this being a bad memory, however, my Dad said it was awesome because he would go to sleep on Christmas eve with no tree or decorations, then wake in the morning with a decorated tree and presents! I can see how that would be cool, but still, I like the rituals of going to get the tree, setting it up, decorating it, setting down a few presents early, etc. In my grandfather’s defense, however, I should mention that he lived through the depression, and I think that all people who lived through those dark times, no matter how successful they may have become eventually, were always wary of spending a dime in case it never came back.
But that’s not the point of this post…that is bad writing to go off on a tangent right off the bat, I know.
Anyway, my point was that my Dad took us to a nice hotel where, in the lobby, some dude (sanctioned by the hotel) had set up a little stage to break dance upon in hopes of setting the record for longest consecutive break dancing.
So, when we arrived on Friday and checked in he was furiously break dancing. When, on Saturday morning, we got up to see the city, he was breakdancing. That Saturday night, when we came back to freshen up before we went to see a Broadway show, he was spinning on his back with a great intensity.
Later, when we came out to go to the show…break dancing. When we returned from the show…head-spinning. When we went to breakfast the next morning…”Rapper’s Delight” was blasting. When we paid our bill ready to go to the airport…guess what?….he was still breakdancing with gusto.
I have no idea if he got the record, but I can tell you this – I’ve often thought about this madman and his endless dancing, and wondered why he did it. The older I get, however, the more sense it makes. Endless breakdancing is what life becomes with age:
Dreams you fight to keep alive? Dance!
The need to earn money for your growing family? Dance!
A home that never seems to stop needing cleaning? Dance!
A waistline that grows even as you eat less? Dance!
A million other things? Dance! Dance! Dance!
Long story short, as you all know, life gets harder as time goes on. A ten-year-old may look at the break dancer trying to set the record and marvel at his stamina, but an adult may say “You think that’s hard? Try my life!” My grandfather, if one his kids had ever bitched about his cheapness, likely would have said “We’re you there during the depression? No! Back then I had to dance to get a meal! All day long I danced just to stay alive!”
Thankfully we have holidays. This Thursday everyone from the ten-year-old marveling at the break-dancer to all of us adult break-dancers can kick back for a day and relax with family and friends.
So to everyone out there I hope you have a great day! Enjoy! These are the good times in life, and don’t forget, we have to start break dancing again on Friday!
Inspiring post. Your posts always have a way of making me stop and think.
Oh yeah, your grandpa, totally sounds like my old step-dad. He is a pilot and the cheapest bastard I have ever met. Had plenty of new clothes but they remained in the closet with the receipt stapled to them for years. Meanwhile he’d walk around, proudly sporting his acid washed jeans (even today, I’m sure). Oh yeah, and he parked his 86 Honda accord way out in the middle of the parking lot so nobody would ding the door- to protect its resale value. AN ’86! The man was crazy, but I liked him.
Have a happy Thanksgiving
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Ms. Moon says:
For me, the holidays are my most frantic dance parties. I love them, I hate them. Every year I say, NEVER AGAIN, and every year I do it again.
I feel exactly like that kid in the hotel lobby. There are so many moments during the grand extravaganzas when I stop and think, why, why, WHY am I still spinning on my back, why am I washing dishes one more time?
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Jen W says:
There is very little I would do consistently for 3 days or more so my hat is off to the breakdancer guy. Happy turkey day!
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A Free Man says:
Call me a glass half full guy, or a naive optimist, but I think it gets easier. Or maybe I just found my teens and twenties realllly hard. It’s definitely a dance, though.
A Free Mans last blog post..Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for littering?
Enjoy your break from dancing over the holidays. Oddly, you could do that by dancing.
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This was a great post
and it really made me think about things.
And as much as I love this dance of life
It can be exhausting, depressing, and overwhelming
I will dance on.
Jamies last blog post..You talk, I am gonna listen.
I had a great Thanksgiving. I hope you and your family did too… I’m thoroughly enjoying my 4 day weekend, and am not looking forward to starting my dance routine up again on Monday. But, dance I must, so dance I will.
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But you really don’t want to see me dance. It’s kind of sad. So, I’ll just sway, if that’s okay. Unless Will.i.am’s Brand New Day comes on. In which case I can’t help but shake it.
I’m glad you had a nice Thanksgiving…I *hope* your Christmas is just as nice. :0) Ha.
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Raging Dad says:
This world need more places for endurance break dancers. Where many would view them as crazy, there is certainly a level of commitment, skill and moxy that one has to have in order to try to do something like that. Thanks for sharing the memory!
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Ms. Moon says:
Happy birthday, Mike! I miss your voice.
Ms. Moons last blog post..Why Do We Write?
A little bird told me you just had a birthday– hope it was a good one!
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UM, are you EVER going to post again? Just wondering.
AMomTwoBoyss last blog post..Are Your Panties In a Bunch Yet?
Mike…I am suffering from MAJOR withdrawl here!! What gives??
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For crimeny sake, I know you’ve been off galavanting with your wife, but…update your blog already!!
Ralph Bevan says:
Great article.Well done.
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