I Don't Hoe-Down.

I told you it would be another post.

You thought I was lying.


Have a little faith in me.

For years my friend Jen tried to get me to go hoe-downing with her.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of a hoe-down, it is basically a social activity where people either pair up (sometimes with people they know, sometimes with strangers) and attempt not to trip over each other, or stand in large groups and perform awkwardly synchronized movements involving, but not limited to, foot stamping and/or hand clapping and/or hip swinging and/or grapevines in a large room, all while country music plays loudly.

I have a lot of problems with this.
  • Problem #1 - Social Activity
  • Problem #2 - Groups of People
  • Problem #3 - Pairing up with Strangers
  • Problem #4 - Strangers with Sweaty Hands Touching My Body
  • Problem #5 - Performing Awkwardly Synchronized Movements
  • Problem #6 - Foot Stamping
  • Problem #7 - Hand Clapping
  • Problem #8 - Strangers' Sweat Flicking Into My Face During the Foot Stamping and/or Hand Clapping
  • Problem #9 - Grapevines
  • Problem #10 - Country Music
Jen, because she has been brainwashed by the lights of the single disco ball that hangs disrespectfully close to the loudspeakers at such events, would implore me to attend one of these hoe-downs with her, which she referred to as "Country Swing Dances."

Jen: "Do you want to hang out with Mandy and me tonight?"

Me: "Depends.  What are you doing?"

Jen: "Well, there's a Country Sw-"

Me: "I don't hoe-down."

Jen: "It's not a hoe-down."

Me: "Will there be at least 5 people there wearing cowboy boots?"

Jen: "Probably."

Me: "That's a hoe-down."

I spent my first two college years in a tiny town in central Utah.  It was in the middle of nowhere.  The closest Wendy's was a 45 minute drive away, by which time it was only another 15 minutes to a real restaurant so it seemed pointless to stop at Wendy's anyway.  I actually quite liked the fact that there was nothing to do - it lent itself perfectly to my I'd-rather-stay-in-and-watch-a-movie lifestyle.

But every Wednesday, the whole town would gather at the dance hall above the pizza parlour for its weekly hoe-down.  And, as that was the only source of entertainment if the three movie screens in town weren't hosting any new features, I attended a couple of times.

I even took a class that taught you how to do some of the turns and things.

Don't judge me.

I needed the PE credit.

So the six class sessions and the two or three times I went "just for fun" have all been filed away in my brain in the drawer marked, "Time I Will Never Get Back."

We all have our regrets.

Several years after I graduated from that school and moved out of that town, I ran into an old friend I'd met there.  His name was Stumpy Joe.

He'd picked that nickname for himself.


Stumpy and I didn't have a lot of time to catch up right then, so we exchanged email addresses.  A few days later I had an email from him that told me a bit about what he had been up to the last few years.  At the bottom there was a post script that left me completely confused.

p.s. Remember that time at country swing when I dropped you on your head? I still feel bad about it.

I remembered the hoe-down where I danced with Stumpy.  I remembered how awkwardly he tried to lead me, and I remembered how we discovered two people with unnaturally short arms (hence the "Stumpy" moniker - what did you think it meant?) will have a hard time with a pretzel turn.


This worried me.

Had he dropped me so hard that I had amnesia?!
  • Problem #11 - Hoe-downs cause amnesia.
Eventually, Jen stopped asking me to attend hoe-downs with her.  But every now and then, when we're hanging out, she'll mention in passing how much fun she had at the last one, how many cute boys there were, how they played this song that she's sure I'll like because even though it's a country song it's not really country.

One of these days I'm going to say to her, "Jen, don't tell lies.  There were no cute boys there."

And Jen will say, "How would you know?  You weren't there."

And I'll say, "Of course I was there.  Did you forget?"

And when I explain to her that hoe-downs cause amnesia, she'll finally give up trying to get me to go.  And then I'll tell her that she owes me twenty bucks.

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