This morning, Barry Manilow’s “It’s a Miracle” came on as I was getting ready.
Now, I am Not A Dancer. But if ever there were a song that screamed for a couple of 3-point turns, this is it. You know 3-point turns … you sorta step to the side, flip around, take another step in which you flip back around, and end by clapping with your arms stretched out to the side? Think of the worst show choir move ever. This is it.
Yes, I was doing this hot move back and forth in my bathroom this morning, shakin’ it to Manilow and thinking of BFF all the while.
Not only does BFF share my love of Manilow, but she also shares a deep, shameful secret. See, in junior high? We both, umm, were in this class? And this class was called “Folk, Pop, Rock?”
I think it began as being kind of a starter show choir, but there was something about the class description that made all sorts of non-musical kids sign up, thinking that this class would turn them into the next Debbie Gibson, and they didn’t even need that pesky natural talent.
BFF and I played twins in a community theatre production of “The King and I,” so we had some stage experience and musical ability. However, compared to everyone else, we were the freakin’ Beyonces of this class.
We were in junior high, so we were shy. I mean, if you’re living in an environment where the older kids can make you switch lunch tables and you’re expected not to make a fuss, it’s really hard to belt songs from “Mame,” you know?
So, we kind of mumbled. We learned step-ball change, 3-point turns, and the basic ballet foot positions. The girls who generally made fun of us in P.E. were now Folk, Pop Rock classmates who were sort of impressed with our knowledge of Rodgers & Hammerstein. There was a strange, awkward peace.
However, we had to put on a show.
Now, mercifully for our tender junior high psyches, the show wasn’t in front of the student body. However, it was in front of our poor parents. Mom? Dad? I’m sorry.
As I recall, we whisper-sang such amazing show-stoppers as:
- “Hey, Look Me Over” from, of course, “Mame”
- The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” because a creepy song about stalking is completely appropriate for junior high girls
- “Kiss Today Goodbye” from “A Chorus Line”
- And, because it was so awesome the first time, a stirring encore of “Hey, Look Me Over”
I can sing, and I can sing loud. But it was so difficult to rise above the collective embarrassment of my classmates – me included. And I hate “Hey, Look Me Over,” especially in situations where all I can think of is, “Please don’t watch me do this incredibly dumb thing.”
Did I mention that the school district didn’t have an auditorium, and so this tour de force was staged in a gym? With the acoustics you might expect?
I just got through it. I think I sang OK. The performance itself couldn’t have lasted more than 12 minutes, although it is seared into my brain as if it lasted several years. No one spoke of it afterward. For a long time, BFF and I acted like it never happened.
But now, much like war buddies, BFF and I can turn to each other for solace, and to find the humor in our shared ordeal. Me? I don’t talk about Folk, Pop, Rock much. I don’t even know if my husband knows about it.
As for BFF, she says that whenever she mentions the class to outsiders, they always look at her as if she were insane. Then, they ask what the hell kind of school district offers a class called “Folk, Pop, Rock.” Then, BFF changes the subject, lest her acquaintances begin to judge her for where she’s been, and the experiences that made her the woman she is today.
Me? I do 3-point turns in my bathroom, when no one is home. Then, I cry a single, stoic tear.