Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why Lee Greenwood and I will never be friends.

The following story is quite silly, but I wanted to share after my recent FB status.  This disclaimer is here to let you all know that my feelings for Lee Greenwood's "masterpiece" entitled "God Bless the USA" aside, I do love my country, and I do love my freedom.

That being said...

I hate the Lee Greenwood "masterpiece" entitled "God Bless the USA."  Whenever I hear it, my skin crawls.  Granted, there is nothing particularly wrong with the song.  In fact, it says some lovely things about this land of ours.  It's also experiencing a rise in popularity as of late, though I can't imagine why...  No, my hatred of this song is all related to one experience, dating back to the first grade.  And it's all because of my stinking dance teacher.  (And also my mom.)

For those that don't know, I took dance lessons as a child, from the time I was about 4 until the sixth grade.  I started with ballet, but by the end, I was taking ballet, tap, jazz, and en pointe, and I was considered one of the top students.  (I often wonder what happened to the graceful girl I used to be, usually when I'm tripping over my own two feet or bumping into walls.)  I loved dance class as a kid, and I always wanted my best friends to be in the class with me.  One year, I was successful enough to get my pal Jenny to join my class.  For our tap number that year, our costumes consisted of weird baggy shirts emblazoned with the American flag, blue bottoms (that I swear were like blue underpants), white tights, and jaunty sailor caps with red, white, and blue stars.  For the life of me, I can't remember what song we tapped to, but I'm guessing it was American.  And hopefully nautical.

That same year, our elementary school was putting on a talent show (as elementary schools do), and the entire first grade was scheduled to perform "GBtUSA."  It was very basic by 1980's elementary school standards, with the students singing along to a tape of the song, and the most difficult choreography being us holding our arms up in the air while we belted out the last, epic note (actually, it probably looked a lot like this).  We'd practiced, it went fine, I got to stand next to my friends on the risers, no biggie.

The night of the performance, my mom had this brilliant idea.  "You know what would be so cute?" She said.  "You and Jenny should wear your dance shirts with the flags on them!  Oh, how precious you two will be!  Call Jenny and tell her!"  I knew this was cheesy, even at the ripe old age of 6, but Mom said call Jenny, so I called Jenny.  Jenny's mom agreed with the cuteness, and she said she'd wear hers too.  Fates officially sealed.

I showed up, waiting backstage with the rest of my classmates to kick off the big Talent Show, and every single solitary adult that walked past me had to comment on my shirt.  Oh, how cute!  What a great idea!  So patriotic!  Everyone will just love it!  I probably did permanent damage with the amount of eye-rolling I did that night.

Then... Jenny walked in.  Wearing the same shirt.

Our music teacher went totally postal.

She could not believe we had these amazing shirts on, almost like we planned it.  She called everyone together and pointed out how cute we were in our matching shirts.  We were instructed on how wide to hold our arms to make sure THE ENTIRE CROWD could see our amazing great shirts.  They would eat it right up, and we would be the stars of the show.

To sum up, Jenny and I were mortified.  We did not want to be the patriotic stars of the show.  We wanted to stand together and sing our song and be done with this forever.  However, like the good kids we were, we kept our mouths shut and did as we were asked.  As we walked out on stage, the crowd was all abuzz with the talk of how adoooorable we were in our little matching shirts.  People asked if my mom made them for us, or if we got them just for this performance.  We sang the freaking song, and we raised our freaking arms, and the freaking flashes went off in the crowd, and our parents all freaking cried, and everyone came up to comment about how freaking cute we were, and it was freaking ridiculous.

Then, for the next 20+ years of my life, every time anyone heard the song or said any of the lyrics or mentioned God, Bless, and USA in the same sentence, my mom said, "Oh, remember how cute you and Jenny were in your little shirts?  Wasn't that so great?" And the memory would come rushing back like it was yesterday.  And my brain would ache just thinking about it.

Why am I complaining about this seemingly vanilla story?  I mean, it's not like I had to do an interpretive dance or wear a costume where I LOOKED like a flag or something of that nature.  And it's obvious that I was used to being in front of crowds as a child because I was IN DANCE RECITALS at least once a year.  But... I know it's silly, but at the time, it was just so embarrassing.  And then hearing about it OVER and OVER and OVER.  Ugh.

So, Beyonce, next time you wanna sing this song, please pick something else.  Like "God Bless America."  That song, while basically having the same title, is totally different.  And beautiful.  And far more challenging as a singer.  In fact, sing the NATIONAL ANTHEM.  Do that next time.

On a final note, I cannot WAIT until my future kid takes dance class.  I hope she/he loves it when they do their patriotic number.  Jaunty sailor cap and all.

You wanna see mine and Jenny's matching shirts?

That's me on the left with the random red triangle, and Jenny's in the row in front of me near the middle bottom.  The guy next to her (whose name is Mitch and I can't believe I remember that)?  He's trying to keep the trend alive.

Now... close up on how much I LOVED DOING THIS:

The hatred is literally spewing from my eyes.  in red-eye form.

Though... how cute are those tights?


  1. ok - you had me nervous with the pictures - but you can barely see me, if you know where to look...
    and yeah his name was mitch - i dont' know what happened to him after that - probably to tramatized by matching your coolnes...
    the things you have pictures of scare me...

  2. Is there ANYONE who wasn't tormented by that song as a child? ANYONE?