POLKA…POLKA…POLKA……zuki joins the band

Good Morning victims of Desiderium,

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had nothing fresh to post, so I grabbed a story from 2006 when I was still a traveling salesman.  I trust there’s a few of you that can relate, so please enjoy:

Good Morning Purveyors of Cultural Diversity,

First of all, I’d like to apologize to the two or three of you that actually read this anoesis for my lack of consistency.

The trail has been arduous and wrought with peril. Like our first frontier journalists William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, “there are times when the events of the day prevented or highly discouraged putting pen to paper.” Such was the case of your humble observer of “life’s rich pageant.” I shall attempt to accurately describe the episode and its dampening effect on my ability to record history.

I found myself attending a conference in Milwaukee and was not too surprised to find the ‘Polka Hall of Fame’ in nearby Hartford, WI as the city boasts of a strong Polish influence.  

According to Wikipedia this lively dance of Bohemian folk origin requires a great deal of stamina and coordination. The polka (Czech for “Polish woman”) is characterized by three quick steps and a hop and is danced to music in 2/4, or duple time. It originated in the early 19th century and became popular in ballrooms across Europe and in North and South America. It has remained popular into the 21st century as both a folk dance and a ballroom dance.

I’m here to witness not only to its popularity but its potential for injury or even death. The organizers of the convention thought it’d be fun to have a Polka Party with all the trimmings; including beer.

I’d had plenty to drink, but was astonished I was actually enjoying the “Kenosha Kickers” accordion and all when things turned very ugly. I’m sure the organizers felt the nature of the dance was preventing many from participating which of course was accurate, so they announced the next dance to be ‘ladies choice.’ Many of the women dressed in their finest polka garb filtered through the crowd grabbing unsuspecting men dragging them to the dance floor.

Yes, you may have already guessed; I was one of those unfortunate few that were subjected to this particular brand of humiliation.  I’m guessing Greta to be in her forties, 210 lbs, had an affable smile but had overly large feet disproportionate to the rest of her body.

The first part of the song was deliberately slow allowing each couple to learn the steps at a reasonable pace. Not wanting to appear like a ‘stick in the mud’ to any potential customer, I went along with it even pasting a smile on my face.

In due course, the tempo quickened as Greta locked arms with me and began this trotting move while being side by side. I adapted quickly and followed her lead actually enjoying the frivolity and put gusto into my steps.

Encouraged by my changed demeanor, Greta decided it was time to begin twirling with me.  Arms completely extended the faces in the room quickly blurred as if spinning on the ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Cup ride. The ‘Kickers’ upped the ante and set the tempo to “ramming speed” so there was no turning back now.

Centrifugal force pressed the both of us to the maximum as I began to feel my grip on Greta’s wrist slip. Sensing our imminent release, Greta tried in vain to alter our pace by stepping across her body to plant her large foot in hopes of slowing us down. However, her planks for feet landed directly on the top of mine causing me to hyperextend the knee catapulting me directly onto the accordion player sending the two of us sprawling across the platform taking out two microphones and a snare drum.

The crowd was divided into two groups; those that were concerned about my physical condition, and those who laughed so hard as to wet themselves. I had to hobble around for three days nursing several contusions.

It’s never easy doing windshield time.

zuki