Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Panic at the Disco

Dance like some cranky stranger's not following you around with his fancycam. That was the challenge facing a gym full of third graders this morning as the local paparazzi threatened their discotheque. Poor kids never stood a chance. Jacked to the gills on some kind of chocolate milk concoction, they continued to get on the good foot, despite the glass handlers circling the dance floor. I was there, of course, but so were others. To my left, none other than Bill Welch surveyed the rave. A card-carrying member of The Lenslinger Institute, and a fully licensed wise-ass, Bill is about as battle-hardened as they get. I once saw him dress-down a CPR dummy for lying down on the job. Which is why I gave the man a wide berth as that damn Carly Rae Jepsen song played for the 704,362nd time this Summer Fall Winter. Moving in, I hovered over a kid in a SpongeBob hoodie who looked to be channeling Usher. Uncertain where that placed him in the pop culture universe, I stayed loose, all the while eyeballing Mr. Bill.

That's when it happened...

A sonic boom high overhead, an unnoticed rip in the Time Space Continuum, a haunted dodge ball from gym classes past - something struck the volume knob on the pocket sized boombox there by the door, thrusting 'Call Me Maybe' into the stratosphere and causing your not so humble host to consider pouring the contents of two nine volt batteries down both ear canals. I would have done it too, but I was under deadline and over the limit. So I made like a young Axl Rose and shimmied sideways all serpent like. It was one of those patented moves that told the world Axl wouldn't age very well and as soon as I came to a rest, I regretted ever buying that stupid Use Your Illusion double album back in the Nineties. Meanwhile the Carly Rae song morphed into some Lady GaGa abomination and I was forced to consider the overall safety of a fire-breathing brassiere while in the company of children.

And for that there's simply no excuse.

But before I could report myself to the authorities, there was the small matter of capturing said dance number, already in progress. Jamming the rest of my face into the 'cup, I tried to crawl inside my viewfinder. I didn't fit, so I pivoted to my right and followed my lack of focus from one little tot in mid-robot to another young upstart who insisted on doing everything Gangnam style. "Whatever, kid," I found myself thinking. "You'll come to regret that when the puberty hits. That was enough to make me consider all the things I regretted once puberty arrived, a list so long you'd need a blog all by itself just to cover the Captain and Tenille years. Scanning the room for another adult, I came up empty and watched a nine year old bust out a pretty respectable moonwalk. It was at that point I noticed Bill, hunched over and in the zone. He was - GULP! - smiling. Not an evil grin either, but a general look of satisfaction. It was ... troubling. Worse yet, Bill noticed my discomfort and straightened up before I could look away. He didn't say a word, but something in that smile reminded me that this grumpy old cameraman was, in fact, a loving Grandfather.

Don't worry, though, Bill. Your secret's safe with me.