I saw an advertisement on television for a cell phone called Jitterbug. It caught my eye because it looked more user friendly than most of the cell phones I have seen. It also sparked a memory of the 1950s TV show “American Bandstand.”

When I was growing up the jitterbug was the “in” dance and “American Bandstand” was where us pre-pubescent kids learned how to do it. Some of my girlfriends and I would gather in front of the television and watch the teenagers from Philadelphia gyrate to the rock ‘n’ roll beat of the era. We would pick out our favorite dancers and pretty soon we’d be on our feet trying to dance just like them.

I remember my father coming into the living room and watching us and shaking his head. “‘I don’t understand your dancing, if you can call it that, and I can’t stand that blasted music!'” he would say. Then he left the room still shaking his head.

Naturally, we didn’t pay any attention to him. After all, he was an old fuddy-duddy and we didn’t expect him to understand rock ‘n’ roll, the jitterbug or anything else that had to do with us.

As I grew into a teenager, new dances started showing up on “American Bandstand” and eventually at the Friday night dances that were held in town. We did the twist, the shimmy, the pony, the Bristol stomp, the Mashed Potato and a whole bunch of other short-lived steps.

My father still didn’t think too highly of the way we danced, but I suspect his father didn’t much care for the dances of my father’s youth either. Though I can’t imagine for the life of me that my father ever danced in his life, I’m sure the fox trot and Charleston of his youth were considered quite disgraceful and no adult understood them.

I vowed that I would never become such a stick-in-the-mud. But, years later along came the bump, where dance partners bumped shoulders, elbows, hips and butts to the beat of the music. Call me a stick-in-the-mud, but I do remember thinking that looked a bit ridiculous.

Eventually dancing became more of a free form of movement without any basic steps. I guess that’s good in its own way, because anyone can sway to the music without feeling the least bit self-conscious. Though, I kind of miss the jitterbug.

I used to wonder who thought up the various dances throughout the years. Someone had to be the first. Someone had to get out on the dance floor and try out the new steps and see if they would catch on.

Now, at least where heavy metal bands perform, there is the mosh pit. I don’t think you can technically call moshing dancing, but maybe the moshers think that’s what they’re doing.

In a mosh pit, if I understand it correctly, the participant’s body-slam each other to the heavy metal beat. Sometimes they dive into the pit and sometimes they throw themselves or others over the heads of the moshers. Sometimes they get hurt.

I wonder what genius came up with that bright idea. Did someone say to a friend, “Let’s go up in front of the band and slam into each other and see if it catches on?”

Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I just don’t understand their mosh pits and I can’t stand their blasted music.

At least I know I don’t ever have to participate in a mosh pit or even see one for that matter. And I don’t ever have to listen to the blasted heavy metal music, and the way I see it that is a pretty good reason for me to do happy dance, if not the jitterbug.


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