Growing up in a large family with lots of girls, the kids were usually split into two factions, based on age. My two cousins and I made up, “the little girls” while my older sisters and cousins made up, “the big girls.” Now, I’m not one to hold on to bitterness, but the big girls got to do whatever the hell they wanted to and we were never allowed to come. Where are the big girls? At the mall. At the movies. At the pool. Getting perms. Probably having the time of their damn lives. Where were the little girls? In the basement, acting out scenes from Annie and generally not being allowed to do anything.
On one visit to my aunt’s house, while the big girls were probably in Vegas with Jonathan Taylor Thomas, my younger cousins and I sat around listening to music and deciding which Newsie we would most like to make out with.
Me: Spot Conlon. Because slingshot, bad attitude.
Rachel: Jack Kelly. Because Santa Fe, Christian Bale.
Perfect as they are, you can only discuss the cast of Newsies for so long and by mid-afternoon, we had moved on to choreographing a dance. It was in this innocent act of boredom that we discovered that we possessed an undeniable gift. Allow me to recount the events that transpired:
“Holy smokes, you guys. Are we really good dancers or is the magic I’m seeing some sort of optical illusion?”
“I’m not sure. Let me see your running man again.”
“It’s glorious. What do you think of this hula hoop miming?”
“Beautiful. We are amazing at dance.”
“People are going to be like, ‘Oh, where did you train?’ and we’re going to be like, ‘Nowhere this is pure, raw talent.'”
“I feel like this is was we were put on earth to do.”
“I completely agree. How can we profit from this?”
“We could go door to door. Strangers will definitely want to see this. Maybe $1 per dance?”
“That’s a bargain.”
“What is our name? Like, the name of our dance troupe?”
“Hammer Girls. Because of our mutual love for MC Hammer but also because we hit the dance floor so hard.”
So using the timeless accompaniment of MC Hammer, my cousins and I went door to door through the neighborhood, peddling our wares. The Hammer Girls and our completely improvised dance routines were not well received and our initial rate of one dollar per dance soon dropped to fifty cents and I believe by the time our mothers found us we were basically in it for the love of the craft.
Nowadays kids have fancy iPads and big screen TVs, but when I was a child we used our imagination, played outside and sometimes danced for money from strangers.
Those were the days.