Sheltered Islander

Sheltered Islander: From Greatest Hits to Busted Hips of the ’60s

On Saturday, August 30, the Shelter Island Historical Society is putting on a 1960s dance party. It will feature memorable dances from the ’60s such as the Watusi, the Jerk, the Twist, the Swim, the Pony, and other dances I can’t recall. For info, visit shelterislandhistory.org. Their dances are always a fun time, but frankly this year’s theme has me worried.

First of all, the people who can remember how to do these dances are too old and arthritic to actually do them. One good jerk or twist is going to throw somebody’s back out. Secondly, unlike the graceful waltzes of yesteryear, which could be performed with style and grace at any age, there are no ’60s dances that can still look cool when performed by 60-year-old people. For social durability, the waltz whips the Watusi.

The part I hate about high school reunions is that while I love the music, I hate that we all look terrible trying to bust a move without busting a hip. On the other hand, once you accept that you’re going to look silly, you can acquire a “so what” attitude and just repeat the few moves you can remember and have fun even if your rotten children film you with the smartphones you bought them. Perhaps they should have been called “smartass phones.”

The really painful part is that as soon as your high school music plays, you feel emotionally elated. You become 18 again and try to dance once more. If there are any windows that show your reflection, don’t look at them, because the geriatric gyrations looking back at you will blow the ballast on your Yellow Submarine and you will sink down into the Octopus’s Garden. It’s so hard to listen to those wonderful, innocent lyrics with a mature mind.

“Nights in white satin, never reaching the end” now means my back hurts too much to reach to the end of my bed or the Advil on the bedside stand.

“I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go” now gets the response, You wanna go? Go. But not in the good car.

When someone asks, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64,” they are only looking for a commitment of a few years.

The line, “Monday Monday, so good to me” has proved to be just a big lie. There never were any good Mondays. I never met a Monday I liked better than a Tuesday.

“I heard it through the grapevine” is beat out by I just read it on Twitter.

“You and I travel to the beat of a different drum, Oh can’t you tell by the way I run every time you make eyes at me” has changed to “You and I travel to the beat of a different drum as you can tell by the way I run every time you gun the car at me.”

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me” now translates to D-I-V-O-R-C-E, if you don’t take care of B-I-Z.

“Christopher Robin and I walked along.” If I knew then how many times I would have to read Winnie the Pooh to my kids, I’d have shot Loggins and Messina on the spot.

“Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough” remains the best song out of the ‘60s. Why? Because you just sang all the words in your head, didn’t you?

Come out on August 30. Be silly and dance like nobody’s watching, and if somebody teases you, slam them into their locker on Monday.

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