Reluctant Townie: Oh, snap: Use the Hall and Oates defense
It's just another exciting Sunday in the Jackson homestead. I'm dancing to Pandora radio in the living room with my daughter while my wife and the dog pass judgment from the couch.
Hall and Oates are singing "Kiss on My List," and I'm paying it the proper due with a shoulder-twisting two-step and matching finger snaps.
(I dare you to listen to Hall and Oates "Kiss on My List" and NOT at the very least snap along. Your head will kaboom.)
My kid has shown a natural inclination toward music and dance, and I try to encourage it, if only because I want her to able to look forward to a future full of service industry jobs, financial destitution and unrealized potential.
But seriously, folks, she likes to dance, and it's pretty entertaining for a variety of reasons (not the least of which is that her head is still negotiating its Terms of Service with gravity), so the living room disco party has become a daily occurrence.
The thing about the living room disco party is that when I dance, I hold nothing back. Just ask my wife's 90-some-year-old grandmother, whom I sweep-kicked — "Mortal Kombat" style — while attempting to break dance at my wedding.
My daughter has taken to Tim Burton's animated musical "The Nightmare Before Christmas," which she requests every couple of days by shouting the word "pumpkin" repeatedly until I produce the DVD. As a child, I memorized all of the lyrics to "The Nightmare Before Christmas," and despite a decade of beer bongs and Jagermeister, I can still recite the entire musical, note for note.
And actually it goes beyond just having the ability to do so — I feel COMPELLED to sing along every time I watch the movie, as if it were the only way to scratch an itch deep inside my brain. More than one person has refused to watch "The Nightmare Before Christmas" while I am present in the room, and I fear my daughter might be the next to make such a vow.
Recently, while listening to the villainous Oogie Boogie Man sing his jazzy, big-band threats to an incapacitated Santa Claus for the third time that week, I dropped the following Truth Bomb on my wife:
"Somewhere in the world, there is video footage of me as a 12-year-old singing and dancing to this song in a top hat. I am also wielding a magician's cane. In my parent's living room. Prompted by no one."
I have known my wife for more than 12 years, so at this point it's fairly difficult to surprise her with factoids about myself. But for once, she was left speechless.
Back to Sunday afternoon's living room disco party, with Hall and Oates bopping out the speakers. I am getting into it, the kid is really getting into it — even if her interpretation of the rhythm resembles the Hunchback of Notre Dame doing a hoedown, she is on beat and fully committed.
"Your kiss, your kiss, is on my liiiiist because your kiss, your kiss, I can't resiiiiiiiiist ."
Two-step, snap and spin. Then from the couch:
"Hey, where's your cane and top hat?"
Ah, there it was. I had been waiting for Rolls to make good ammunition of her newfound knowledge. I'm still not sure why I told her in the first place, nor why I'm telling you now.
"Never fear, wife. You may yet have the opportunity to see me do the Oogie Boogie dance. My dad has been digitizing his home movies."
"Are there going to be a lot of videos that feature you snapping as well?"
" Your kiss is on my list, of the best things in liiiiiiiiiiiiife "
"As a human being, I snap a medium amount. I am sure that this was adequately documented in the footage."
"Well, that's something I could do without ... as a human being."
"You don't like my snapping, girl? Gaze upon my fingers. These are snaps of seduction."
"I'm pretty sure snapping is the least attractive thing a man can do."
"What. Ever. Think of all the sex symbols throughout history who have used the snap to their advantage."
"I can't. Think of one."
"You name one."
"Well, how about these guys for example? Hall and Oates killed it with snaps."
"That's your defense? Hall and Oates?"
"Yeah, baby. I am employing the Hall and Oates defense. This scorchin' hot duo of sexy singer-songwriter-snappers can do no wrong, in my eyes, or in the eyes of the world."
"I was not aware Hall and Oates were known for their sex appeal."
"Well, then, I guess you can consider this Hall and Oates Sex Symbol Awareness Week."
"Good one, Ryan. Are you going to save that for your column?"
Snap. Snap. Spin.
Ryan Jackson was unable to find video confirmation of Daryl Hall and John Oates snapping on the Internet, but it feels true, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.