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Published on November 8th, 2013 | by Richard Black


Ballet for Toddlers and How to Become a Paraplegic

Darcy began some ballet classes six months ago and if you’ve never gone to a ballet class full of toddlers I highly recommend doing so. Seeing a bunch of three year old girls running around in tutu’s will do a person more good than two years of therapy while being smothered in puppies.

It is simply the cutest thing I have ever witnessed in my life, other than the bunny, “Mr Fuzzy,” I had as a child. Sadly Mr. Fuzzy is no longer with us. He’d turned into a mean little fucker with teeth the size of carving knives later in life. Like most pets in the Midwest Mr. Fuzzy never made it through the drought of 1991.

I’ve never developed a taste for rabbit. As a youngster however I chewed every bit of Mr. Fuzzy’s stewed remains with gusto in remembrance of the many bites and rabies shots I endured during his time with our family.

But I digress.

A few months ago we moved Darcy into another ballet class, one in a less stabby location. So far I like it. My daughter, however, feels differently.

In the old class she pretty much ran rampant around the room to music with a few other girls. The new class is much more regimented. The instructor, Mrs. Borgnine, has no problem removing children from her class when they do not follow direction.

Needless to say my  daughter is usually one of those children. I could be wrong but I believe that, in the past few classes, Darcy has been asked to leave at some point during every single class.

I can’t say that I’m surprised. I also can’t say that I’m that upset. I love the fact that my daughter is a free spirit and I love it even more that someone else feels comfortable disciplining her. God knows I haven’t had much luck in that regard.

As much as I love watching my daughter take ballet I don’t go to every class which is a shame. According to my wife and some friends who also have children under the expert tutelage of Mrs. Borgnine I missed a rather interesting event.

Towards the end of one class Mrs. Borgnine was instructing the girls on how to properly execute a backbend. She told the kids to be careful and apparently the phrase “if you slip you will break your neck” was uttered followed by a brief description of the difference between a paraplegic and a quadriplegic.

One girl immediately left the room. According to my wife my daughter did not and continued spinning in circles until she fell to the floor like a clubbed seal.

During the subsequent classes I’ve attended my friends have expressed their wish that I had been present during the infamous “paralysis” class. To be honest I’m glad I wasn’t but I’ll get to that in a second.

I’m very protective when Darcy’s safety is concerned. However, there hasn’t been a time when I’ve seen any gymnast bending over backwards or whipping around a set of uneven bars when I haven’t wondered how many other, less successful, gymnasts are sipping roast beef out of a straw because they landed on their neck.

This shit can be dangerous and I applaud Mrs. Borgnine for pointing it out. Wrangling a baker’s dozen worth of little girls in tutus for an hour would stretch any rational and fairly sober person’s emotional resources to the limit.If I were in Mrs. Borgnine’s place I would have whipped out a picture of a promising young ballet student emptying her colostomy bag.

I don’t perform well under pressure. Any response my friends would have anticipated from me would have been much more entertaining than anything I could have done in reality. At best I would have gauged my daughter’s reaction to the speech about living a life without arms or legs and then, seeing that she had cheerfully thrown herself into a backbend, quipped a non sequitur, “two men enter one man leaves.”

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