It doesn’t take long after you land on Planet Earth until someone tall and condescending bends down and inquires, “WELL, SWEETIE, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?” You look up and see some grotesquely-grinning giant face and think, well, what do I know, I’m a damn LITTLE KID, GOD! But you come up with something anyway. The first thing I wanted to be was a “cat hair cutter.” I knew that dogs went to the groomer and had whirring clippers used upon them, and in my toddler logic I figured cats needed hair services as well. I pictured myself lovingly washing, brushing, and artfully cutting the long fur of a languorous white Persian in Marianne’s Kool Kat Salon, where all was sparkly pink and silver with satin pillows. Rich ladies in animal print hats would pay me graciously, as I proudly returned to them a feline whose hair length was once-again perfect. The approximate millisecond after I mentioned my occupational vision, someone or three in my family went A HA HA HA, cats don’t get haircuts, HAAA, you stupid TWO YEAR OLD! Being the me that I am, I argued my point and did not really believe that cats did not require their fur to be scissorly-managed, but soon decided a WAY cooler thing was my real and true calling.

I decided to become a go-go dancer.

I mean, what could possibly be better? You get to dress up in a groovy spangly minidress with white go-go boots, flip out your hair and pile on the black eyeliner and white lipstick, and shake your stuff to the most awesome bands with those long-haired cute boys playing guitar. If you were super-cool, you would dance in a cage raised about 20 feet off the floor. Go-go girls knew every new dance and every old one and never ever EVER stopped dancing.

So, I got to working on my new career. I glued my big baby eyes to Shindig, and Hullaballoo, and Where The Action Is, and American Bandstand and watched the girls do their fab best. Then once a week, usually during a playdate with a confused friend, I would announce, ‘IT IS SUPER SECRET DANCE TIME!” I would jump up on my bed and tell outrageous lies wherein I stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG to watch a dance show where the very very latest moves were unveiled, and I would make up names for these little moves, like “The Shake Quake” or “Pink Kitty Girl” or “Jump Up Twice and Then Toss Your Hair Around. ” The confused friend would then have the opportunity for me to teach her these hot new dances, whether she liked it or not. I have always been persuasive. We’d both end up shimmying on top of my bed, imagining the glories of being a teenager at a discotheque, when life would truly begin. I did fall off my bed more than once, and was reprimanded by my mother, who never really could have imagined having a furiously-Frugging tiny daughter.

But the times, they went a-changin’ on me, and the fishnetted Mod girls morphed almost overnight into hippie chicks. Gone was the go-go cage; instead, the ladies writhed and swirled snake-like in muddy fields or in dark performance spaces with a projector trained on a lava light. I liked their headbands and fringy vests, but my heart was still locked in that cage. I gave up my dream, sadly, and thought maybe I would now become an actress, or a mom, or a playwright, or something, or nothing.

My teenage years arrived. Disco. It embittered me. I waited all that time to BECOME, and they gave me DISCO. I refused.

Another few years went by, punk and new wave thought I was cool again, and it was time to dance once more. I could again wear minidresses, find cool bands to dance to, even load on the eyeliner. I would dance and dance for hours, heart uncaged (or caged again?) at last, until I was sweaty and delighted and utterly satisfied. There is something about dancing when combined with music that you love that makes it transcendent. Really, you don’t have to be good, as most people including me do look like dorks when dancing. Who cares? It’s such a wonderful human thing to do. I had to wait a long time, but I got to do what I needed to do. No cats were harmed, either.

The whole point of me writing this was to direct you to Mike Long, who has been posting a new dance video every day for almost a year on his YouTube site:

I wish I could dance as well as the fearless, slinky, and talented Mike, or thought to do such an inspired and enjoyable performance project. Check him out, send him a few bucks if you can spare it, ‘cause coolness should always be rewarded.

Find some music you love and dance today, even if it’s just for a minute in your bedroom mirror. I promise you that you will smile, feel silly, and feel better.