Plesy? Balls! Boty? Buyer beware!

By the Kajman ©2019 (“Konverzace v anglickém jazyce, man!“)

Our school held its annual Graduates’ Ball recently, but I have to begin this story with my recollection of an occasion when, as a student, I had a summer job doing dangerous work for which the employer required us to wear Canadian Standards Association CSA-approved safety boots. For our safety, of course. When shopping you could easily identify approved safety wear by the affixed triangular green CSA label. One of my co-workers had bought a similar-looking pair of boots but the boss berated him for bringing bad boots; reprimanded him for having inappropriate  footwear on hand… or on foot, rather; in fact, his boots, on closer inspection bore a sticker: “Warning: not suitable as safety boots!” Caveat emptor – buyer beware!

So continuing with footwear, but getting a foothold back on my story, I have to tell you about (no, I didn’t say, a boot, even though I am Canadian) about one of my friends at the ball. He had previously set off to town to buy new shoes. However, on the way to a reputable shoe shop, he was accosted on the street by a mysterious cloaked man offering him, for “an unbeatable price”, a pair of Magic Dancing Shoes! These shoes, in beautiful green plastic crocodile skin (I hope no plastic crocodiles were harmed etc.), were “guaranteed to give the wearer perfect dancing style” in the ballroom dance steps listed on a tiny printed label inside the shoe. My friend leapt with joy, shouting, “Jazgym, jazzgym, razzamatazzgym! I’m ready to boogie!”

Jumping ahead now to the night of the ball, my friend strutted into the Cultural Centre to gasps of amusement and horror from the elegantly-dressed assemblage. Could he really have arrived in such outlandish shoes? Was he serious?

But oh, how their laughter turned to adulation when he took his first turn on the dance floor! He whirled his partner through the Waltz with the utmost grace. He followed with a frenzied Foxtrot, then rolled along with a rhythmic Rhumba; next, a one-two-three-Cha-cha, Polka, Jitterbug, Jive, every dance more dynamic than the last! It became like a scene from Saturday Night Fever, with everyone gathered around watching in awe-struck wonder, clapping and cheering; he was the prince of the parquet with his partner parfait!

As the room buzzed with intensity, the band struck up a Tango, and… wait; something was wrong. His partner stumbled forward, but while he moved with his arms, sweating and struggling with a terrified grimace on his face, his feet were frozen, immobile, as if he were glued to the floor. Absolutely stuck! His partner hurried away in shame. The crowd looked embarrassed, but then resumed their own dancing, paying him no further attention.

I went over to my shattered friend and asked him what was wrong with the Magic Dancing Shoes “guaranteed to give the wearer perfect dancing style.” He sat on the floor; he removed a shoe and began reading the label inside. At the end of the long, minutely-printed list of magically approved dance steps were the even more minutely-printed dire words, “Warning: not suitable for Tango!” Caveat emptor – buyer beware!

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