January 2000
s m u g
by Stephen Van Esch

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Plus Ça Change

"We are chaperoning a teen dance on the 26th."

That single sentence brought the reality of my age to the foreground in a hurry. Wasn't it last year that I was jumping around on the dance floor waiting for Stairway to Heaven to play? Well, not really. This was a teen dance and, since I didn't have any real dancing experience until University, the teen thing pretty much passed me by.

Still, having someone think that I was responsible enough (at 27) to supervise a large group of adolescents was a sobering thought.

How to prepare? I was surprised at the social pressure I felt, and my first step was to bring out the most fashionable thing I could find so that I wouldn't look like a complete square. After that, all that was left was to show up.

Since I wasn't considered essential personnel, I was told that anytime after 7:00 would be fine for me to arrive, even though the dance started at 6:00. Upon arrival the dance was in full swing. A video dance no less! Now, I'm not sure if this is common these days. All I know is that they were banned permanently when my high school video dance turned into a minor riot.

Instructions were simple. Make sure no one got out of hand or started any heavy grope sessions. If I spotted trouble, I would report it to the guy in charge of the community centre. No problem. Back into the noise and light. It didn't appear to be a bad turnout. Maybe 500 kids all together.

Makeup galore (age group was between 12 and 16) and tops that just barely covered the clear signs of puberty on the rampage. The guys wore typically baggy pants and shirts which didn't seem like such a far cry from the dances I remember from high school. Guy's fashions don't seem to change a heck of alot. The girls, though, were a different matter.This could degenerate into a diatribe about "those crazy kids" but you can draw your own conclusions.

Along with the blatant flaunting of flesh (which I can't seem to remember from my high school days) violence seems to be the norm. Nothing like pulling knives or anything but slapping seems to be the rage. Guys slapping guys, girls slapping guys, girls slapping girls and guys slapping girls. Shocking? Well, I don't know. Along with all the posturing, shoving and running around, I guess I can just chalk the whole thing up to rampant hormones and heightened excitement.

The music however, was about as interesting as it was back in the eighties. As in, not interesting at all. Sure, I get a kick out of the retro songs but today's hit music seems nothing more than a mass canabilization of what went before. These kids still like "Ice Ice Baby" for God's sake. Let the man rest in peace! Other classics include "The Macarena" (it was all I could do to keep from making a break for the door) and a whacky pastiche of old school house blended together. Trust me when I tell you; it's confusing to hear 5 popular songs from almost 10 years ago blended into one.
The kids loved it, though. Oh yeah, breakdancing is back in style. That gem from the early to mid eighties has returned to once again separate the men from the boys.

On the human side, things are pretty much the same. There are the bullies, the couples, the geeks, the wallflowers, the popular ones and the not so popular ones.

Yes, some girl fled crying into the washroom like the world was about to end (which it clearly was, for her anyway). Yes some couples danced at arms length because one of them couldn't say no to some loser. Yes, both guys and girls took their first chance to grab their first ass on the slow songs.

And where am I during all of this? Wandering around. Standing close to a couple getting too amorous or beligerent. Grooving to the music (cause I'm not too old to like it) and wondering where the hell all the time went.

Or maybe I was just wondering where the time didn't go since everything looks pretty much the same.


in the junk drawer

feature car
ac/dc gun
compulsion vise
posedown cheese
and such
and such
blab fan

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