Friday, October 26, 2007

Practicing my Slouch

I remember learning how to slouch. It was the 60's and I was at a basketball game against the kids from Athens City, a small town 10 miles from my hometown. They were our rivals; mostly hillbilly's and Mainlanders, but their school had the cutest boys. Way cuter than the ones from my school. They seemed to have some kind of edge: an edge that was created from booze, cigarettes and poverty; but I didn't know that and it was as attractive as a magnet to me.

I was standing in the bleachers, observing these kids. They had slumped shoulders. It looked so cool, so relaxed, so laid back and desperate. Really hot! This was the 60's, you know! I thought I stuck out like a sore thumb with upright posture and straight shoulders.

So I stood there and copied them, twisting myself like a soft pretzel until I had the correct stance. It felt awkward and hard to maintain, but I did it! And it paid off, too, because later that same game, Buff Orpington came and sat with me and held my hand. Pretty daring for a 7th grader! The slump is what did it. I mastered the slump and suddenly I had a suitor.

Ah, peer pressure. Somewhere over the years my path must have diverged from needing to join the pack. Later, in the 90's I remember a young man walking me to the parking lot because "I want to see what kind of cool car you drive!" Because I was hot! And still slumped coolishly! Of course he was mighty disappointed. Instead of the Volvo Cabriolet or Jaguar or Beamer he had envisioned, I drove an older model Honda with a crushed driver's door and flaking paint. He wrote me off as unyuppie and unworthy in that moment, and I didn't care a bit.

Because I remember :

"That's when a smoke was a smoke
And grooving was grooving.
Dancin' was everything
We were young and we were improving

Laughing, laughing with our friends
Holding hands meant something, baby..."

It's been almost 40 years since I twisted myself into an S curve in order to belong to The Cool People. I still retain the slump, it's just called a Hump now.

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