Last night was the Big Dance down at Not Bad President Elementary School.
They do this a couple of times a year.
On one side of the hall, in the corner of the gym, there is a DJ surrounded by twirling lights, pulsing speakers, and enough CDs to provide a coaster for every beer served during Mardi Gras. There are a hundred or so kids bouncing merrily around, for the DJ is actually pretty good at what he does and he knows how to get them moving. Or, rather, he knows how to get them moving the way he wants them to move, since kids that age never really stop moving unless the air temperature approaches absolute zero. The secret is to play songs that routinely appear on the Disney Channel, and to play only the highlights of those songs. This also appeals to the parents lining the walls, who have all heard these songs SO MANY TIMES that it would take a direct high-pressure firehose with one end in their mouths and another end in the entire whiskey output of Kentucky to erase these songs from our memories. Highlights are just fine, thank you.
On the other side of the hall, in what is referred to as "the multi-purpose room" (as if there are rooms in an elementary school that do not fit that description), there are tables, benches, and pizza.
I spent most of the evening in that room, handing out pizza to anyone with a blue ticket. No ticket, no pizza, order up, don't just stand there sonny, what'll ya have?
This arrangement worked pretty well for the girls, who have reached the age where they are happy to have us nearby but not too nearby anymore. Kim drifted in late from her office as Associate Grand Poobah of Home Campus, and we purchased our share of blue tickets to trade for dinner. After that the girls disappeared back into the gym with their friends, leaving us to finish up.
They did come get us a couple of times, though.
They came for Kim when "The Twist" was played. They came for me when it was a Daddy/Daughter dance, even though Lauren skipped merrily away once we got into the room and Tabitha cut me off about halfway through the song - not that my dance moves didn't deserve it, I suppose. And they came for both of us when the DJ decided to play 80s music. "I was there the first time," I told them. "That was plenty."
The highlight of the evening for me came after my pizza shift was over and I was one of the parents lining the walls. Lauren rushed over, gave me a big hug, gazed adoringly into my eyes, and said, "Daddy, you're not cool."
No, dear. Daddy is not cool. But he'll take the hug anyway.