Athens, Georgia, the town where you would naturally expect the assimilation of all things cultural and if you did, you would be right on. The Culture Clubs recently strutted their stuff in Downtown Athens during the International Street Festival.
I had to be there. I am an expert at the Filipino Tinikling. I’m sure you’ve seen film clips of folks in the Philippines doing the Tinikling.
It’s relatively simple. You get two brain dead bozos to hold two bamboo poles parallel to each other and as these clowns clap the sticks together you have to dance, quickly I might add, between and in and out of the sticks without getting tender ankle flesh entrapped between the poles thereby suffering an injury that can lead you to becoming non-ambulatory. That would result in a serious need for crutches or a wheelchair.
I tell you I had to go. I just knew the Tiniklingers would welcome me with open arms once they saw my skill and grace as I performed this daring dance of the Philippines.
There was just one thing I did not take into consideration. I had forgotten Americans are not welcomed with open arms (by just about anybody) in the world anymore and the Filipino men who were in control of the ankle bashers did not seem to appreciate the fact that a tall, dark, and fairly ugly Americano could do their dance so well.
I was really getting into it (this would have been in the first three seconds or so) when things began to fall apart. They started banging those sticks together so fast that even Fred Astaire would have grabbed his top hat and run like hell.
I was at their mercy. I made my slickest move but it didn’t work. They had my right foot in a vise. I wear a size twelve shoe but by the time those guys got through with me just my left foot was a size twelve.
My right foot was only two inches wide at the widest part and it was almost seventeen inches long. I rolled around on the floor a while and cried a little bit and then crawled over and leaned on a wall while angrily protesting they had changed the tempo on me and fouled me all up and ruined my favorite foot.
They answered my accusations with what seemed to me to be quite a bit of joy and one of them said. ‘Oh no, meester, the Filipino Tinikling is in three quarters rhythm and you were trying to dance in four-four time.’
I called Katie Mae to come get me but she told me I should have known better than to go down there and act like an old fool. She sent me a cab about an hour later.
My foot will never be the same. I think it is gradually reshaping itself but it’s kind of scary because the new shape resembles the long face of a nine year old mule my Daddy used to own.