Watch me whip and losing touch | Mark’s Remarks

I always thought I was pretty hip and happening. I knew what was current. I listened to the latest songs. I was up on the fads.

It was always a curiosity to me how and when people started to be “out of it.” I always wondered how older folks started losing touch.

There was an episode of “Roseanne” in which Roseanne’s mother met one of the daughter’s new boyfriends.  This guy was the leather jacket type with big hair. I would guess this particular episode took place in the late 1980s.

The grandmother met the boyfriend and said “Well, I can certainly see what she sees in you! You look just like that Fonzie fellow that is so popular with the ladies these days.”  Fonzie, of course, had been out of style for almost a decade by the time the episode aired.

Even teaching elementary school, my young students would be “up” on the latest songs. They would beg me to turn on the radio on Fridays during art class. We would talk about their favorite TV shows.  Having kids around seems to keep you hip and happening, or so I thought.

My mother bought great tickets for a Cardinals game the other day, and I was glad to be asked to go after the grandchildren had all had a turn attending games with her.  We sweated it out as the Cards beat the Pirates. A good game. It’s always fun to go to a Cards game, despite the heat.

But one thing stood out to me: the dance cam. At one point in the game, they fired up the cameras around the stadium and also got the big video screen going.  The announcer told the fans that they were now going to “watch us whip and watch us  nae nae.” What? What does that mean?

I proceeded to watch young kids and teens around the stadium jump up, dancing to the music video and tune on the screen. All of them danced enthusiastically, hoping to get on the dance cam. I watched in awe; I had never heard of the whip or the nae nae.

Throughout the entire song, there are various dance moves that are sung about. If you watch the video (which I did as soon as I could; you see, I wanted to be hip and happening again), you can see huge crowds of people know how to do the dances.

All I can do is watch in disbelief, wondering why I know nothing about whips or nae naes.

My oldest son, a sometimes nasty and condescending young man who likes to laugh at his out-of-touch, middle-aged parents, came up stairs. I asked him about whipping and nae naeing. He smiled one of those “Oh my gosh, how embarrassing that Dad is asking about this” smiles.  I demonstrated the dance and it was all he could do to keep a straight face. He showed me the correct way to do it. I did it again. He shook his head and laughed.

When did this happen?  I know how to line dance. All of the folks attending our wedding reception were excited to see an entire room of “young people” doing the same dance (the Electric Slide).  We learned the Macarena right away.  We knew the songs that had a good beat.  And you could dance to them.

But somewhere along the line, I lost touch.  According to my son, the song has been around for about a year. A year?  How had I missed it?  I guess I haven’t turned on the radio much. I listen to Bott radio.  I  watch reruns and the news.  MTV fell out of my radar around 1998.

Still with a smile on his face, my son waited until I had given up my attempts to do a proper whip or nae nae and asked me a question: “Do you know about ‘Hit the Quan?'”

Oh no.  I’m even more out of touch than I thought.  What exactly is a Quan and why are we hitting it?

I have officially lost touch.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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