My niece just got married, and like any middle-aged overweight uncle I felt a compulsion to dance at the reception. As opposed to some venues, at wedding receptions my inhibitions seem to melt away as soon as the DJ starts playing music.
This time, however, he began with a set of music from an era before my time, which surprised me.
I held fast. The music was for another generation. I would wait until he got tired of playing old people music and got into the modern stuff. Besides, the greatest generation would tire quickly and go home soon enough.
Almost on cue he abandoned the old stuff and hit us with a whole set of songs like, “Celebrate” and “Shout” and happy songs that made everyone want to dance. And we did. My siblings, my cousins, my wife, and others of our generation boogied out to the dance floor and gyrated to the rhythm as much as our prosthetic knees and hips would allow. My brother did the “bump” with our cousin. I jitterbugged with my wife. We laughed and danced and gave Mick Jagger faces when the music moved us, which turned out to be just about every song.
Speaking of Mick Jagger, this is not us, but it is a reasonable representation:
We scoffed at all of the young people in the room. “This is a generation of chickens”, I thought to myself while simulating a blender with my hands. We, the pre-millenials, owned the night. We learned how to dance to the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, AC/DC and Tina Turner. Who do they have now? Lady Gaga?
After a while, we returned to our seats. We were sweaty, worn out and happy that we had shown the twenty-somethings a thing or two about what funk really is.
Besides, the music the DJ was playing wasn’t quite as familiar to us any more. I noticed, however, that the dancers were getting younger and more numerous. Maybe we had inspired them. By the way they were dancing, though, it didn’t seem like they needed any encouragement to get out there.
It was almost as if they had been waiting for us to leave.
I think it was my brother who had the epiphany that we had been played. The DJ starts with the really old music to satisfy the really old people in the audience, figuring they will tire out first and leave early. Then he moves on to my generation and does the same thing.
As we walked out the door, we watched fifty or so younger people dancing dances we did not recognize, to music we had never heard before.
My brother was right. We played right into their hands. We had been hoodwinked.
There are two options when confronted with a challenge. You can give in, or you can confront it head on. I have never been one to give in or give up.
So for the next wedding, let’s just see how the younglings do with synchronized dancing.