288. I coulda been a contender

I was advised today that one of my favorite writers, Ann Leary just sold her book, “The Good House” to a movie company.

Not wanting to let a moment pass without pitching myself, I sent her a Facebook message stating that if she’s looking for someone to play an intrusive neighbor or a know it all aunt who also knows how to tap dance I’m her guy.

Then I started thinking about my tap dancing creds.

One of the earliest upsetting moments of my life occurred via tap dancing.

Each day when I got home from school my mother would ask me the same question, “Did the teacher say that you were the prettiest one?”

I was no dummy. Even though I knew I was in fact the prettiest one I was aware that no teacher worth her salt would hurt the rest of the children by saying so.

Therefore my answer was always a shy “no”

At some point when I was about 8 my mother or I decided that going to dancing school would be just what I needed to complete me.

I stood next to my mother while she dialed up the dancing school happily picturing myself floating around a stage in a tutu wearing toe shoes.


My mother’s voice pierced my lacy billowy dream when I heard her say,

“She’s a little chubby so what kind of dance would you suggest?  Tap?”

“Chubby? Tap?” Was I hearing things?

Even now I can almost envision my self esteem falling to a tutu covered lump on the floor where I stood.

Is it possible that when my mother asked me each day “Did the teacher say you were the prettiest one?” that she knew it wasn’t so?

Clearly she thought I was chubby. How did that fit in to a description of the prettiest girl?

As Doctor Phil says ” This was a defining moment”

Anyway I didn’t say a word. I took the tap lessons that I still remember, “brush brush tap” but I was not very good.

I guess my heart wasn’t in it.

But if Ann wants me to tap dance in her movie, I will.

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