You know how it is: you’re sitting at your office desk pushing in the same 10,000 digits you’ve pushed the day before, and the day before that, or you’re working behind a counter serving asshole, unappreciative customers who would rather see you die than acknowledge you as a fellow human being by saying hello or smiling. Perhaps you’re shopping at the local grocery store with two screaming kids – one has a shitty nappy – trying to compete with how much everything in price has gone up while the money in your wallet continues to go down.
All these scenarios and dozens more, have a common thread.
You just don’t want to be there today.
Well… wouldn’t it be nice…
…. if we lived in a world that was similar to the good old days of the Hollywood musical.
Besides blowing someone’s head off, have you ever fantasised about what it would be like to throw down that keyboard and mouse, push the screaming kids and shopping trolley away, get the price code scanner and stick it up the customer’s ass and break into song?
Well damn, I know I will.
The world would indeed be a better place if we all had a chance to be Gene Kelly and re-enact the best bits from the film, An American In Paris.
I can see it now: you jump over the counter, your customers, shocked at first by the break in protocol, take a step back in amazement.
Then, after you get out your tap dancing rhythm and your first few lines of some 50s heartfelt song, they would join in and surprise us all by knowing the same dance steps as you as well as the words to the song you supposedly just made up.
There would be no more asshole customers, no screaming kids, no one stealing or doing anything the slightest bit negative in your shop. Your seemingly grey, mundane surroundings and all the things that made you sad, depressed and messed up have all gone Technicolor, bright and sunshiney. Everyone would be happy, everyone would be all smiles and before you knew it, your dancing would have caught on and flooded into the street.
Back at the grocery store, trolleys have become a conga line down aisle four pushed by middle-aged housewives, swinging to a Rumba beat and shaking their butts in unison. There is not a baby crying in sight. The smell of soiled nappies has been replaced by fruit and coconut oil, steamers and confetti pour from the ceilings. Old balding shop managers and other once-bitchy staff are parading with pineapples and other fruits.
In your small office space, you sing your song of rebellion, throwing three years of data entry in the air. Fax rolls, now airborne streamers, remind you of a 1930’s ticket tape parade, and once nerdy looking female office staff now look surprising secretarial-like sexy. Meanwhile, three guys over in accounts start making a techno beat on oversized calculators. As you, master of the mouse and the pocket protector break into your rebellious tune about “not taking it anymore”, you find your voice has support. Where you thought you were the only one stuck in this shitty job, you find thousands behind you all rallying support, once again surprisingly knowing the worlds of your song.
All scenarios would build to a classic and great MGM triumphant crescendo, with dancing girls, balloons, even the milkman parading and building up this last breath of sound, music and celebration. You think to yourself: “Am I topping the ending of the Muppets theme song?”
This last note would mean you had found your purpose, found the answer to the question that had plague your existence, an answer to your loneliness, maybe you even got the girl (or guy) in the end.
But what happens next…
In the musical, that’s it.
We end on a happy note.
The End Credits roll…
FADE TO BLACK…
But in real life, there isn’t a real resolution. We are just led to believe that they all lived happily ever after and that the world is a better place now that our Gene Kelly performance impressed everyone. So, what does happen?
Your group of strangers, very talented in their song and dance but strangers nonetheless, would all catch their breath, look at each other, talk about how talented they all were but didn’t know it. Go to the pub and exchange phone numbers, perhaps. But at the end of the day, your strangers would go back to what they did before you decided to do your best Gene Kelly. They traipse back to the thing that pissed them off and made them unhappy, and sadly…
…so do you.
But we can dream, can’t we?
I still hold onto hope that one day, drunk or not, either I or one of my crazy friends will do a Gene in a public place. I know no one would join in but hey, it would be worth it just to see.