The Legend of Baggy Pants
In west Philadelphia, where I was born and raised, I frequented the local clubs at night in search of the perfect date. I tried to impress the women with my fly dance moves, but all I managed to accrue were stares and the occasional giggle.
One night I snuck into an exclusive club in Jersey by telling the bouncer "I'm with the band." I figured my cameo appearance in the new environment might change my luck. I started up a conversation that I hoped would blossom into something more but by the end of the night, She left me with the memory of a beautiful face and five digits of a phone number.
Trudging home, I passed the bridge and seriously considered stopping to take the plunge. As I stood watching the waves below, a still small voice spoke to me. "Don't give up yet. Tomorrow is another day, wait and see where the day takes you."
The alarm clock went off far too early. I shuffled off to my factory job, grateful that anything is still made in America. The hours crept by. That night I planned to going out in style. If I couldn't land a date with a gorgeous woman, I'd just land in the Delaware River.
The first woman I ran into was way out of my league. She told me directly that there were six degrees of separation between us. I guess she preferred bad boys, I don't know.
I was wearing my fresh prints, the matching shirt and pants I'd purchased in Bel Air. I thought the shirt looked classy, but given the stares, I started to doubt myself. Again, the voice came to me, "This is your day to be yourself, consider it your independence day."
I realized that not every story has a happily ever after and more than likely the voice in my head was going to tell me it was kidding and I should just jump in the river and get it over with, but for the time I decided to stick to the plan.
Sure, I stood out in a sea of men in black jeans, t-shirts and seven pounds of gold chain, but I couldn't understand the hostility. They acted as if I were an enemy of the state. I seriously wanted to run to the post office to see if my face graced the most wanted list. That thought made me chuckle, least wanted was more like it.
I figured I would play the part of the villain. In my mind, the dance floor became a train in the wild, Wild West and I planned to blow it up. I started imitating the dances of the other men in the room. The moves felt stiff and unnatural, but I was going to find a way to fit in and finally get a girl.
That's when he walked in, Baggy Pants, the legend himself. "Hey son, " he said. "Did you get my messages?"
"That was you?" I could hardly believe what was happening. "How is that even possible? Hey can I get your John Hancock?"
"Sorry friend, I don't do autographs. So what's going on with this dancing here?"
"I'm trying to dance like everyone else. It's not really working though."
"There's an understatement. I thought I told you to be you. Get loose, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, the thriller in manila, Muhammad Ali."
"You want me to box?"
Baggy shook his head. "Listen, all of us have our own style, our own flow. You have to find your own groove and stop trying to fit into someone else's. What dance moves do you really enjoy doing?"
"Well, I robot and I do the swim."
"You're drowning man. Let me tell you a tale about sharks. They never stop moving or else they sink. You can't stop moving, can't limit yourself to named dance moves, I mean show me the moves that feel right to you."
I closed my eyes and let go, at first I hitched and twitched but at last I let go. I can't really describe the dance from there, but it was mine and it was beautiful.
"There you go, son, now you've got it. It's the same thing when you're talking that cute girl over there. Don't try to be someone you aren't. The pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of the true you. Be yourself and watch what happens."
I hesitated, the same girl who'd blown me off before sat at the bar. "Hey sorry, about the silly lines before, my name's William, I work at the factory on 23rd street."
She stared at my extended hand for a minute, and then peered into my eyes. "Hello William; my name is Stacey. It's nice to meet you, the real you."
A few hours later, Stacey and I walked out together. We passed Baggy standing by the door.
"You were right, Baggy." I said, "Thank you so much for your advice."
Baggy grinned and nodded. "I'm always right, that's why I am legend."