The irony is not lost on me that the child teaching me how to do the dance craze known as the floss is missing four teeth.
Two on top. Two on bottom. Gone. Nothing but a black hole when she grins. The kid has nothing to floss, but here she is doing the floss, arms flying, hips swinging, smiling from ear to ear, shouting, “C’mon try it!”
“What’s the name of that dance again?”
That’s right, the floth — distant cousin to a dance called the sloth, a dance where you sit motionless and watch others go through awkward gyrations.
The floss has been all the rage and I am late to the party, or the bathroom sink. But here I am.
I am learning the floss to disprove claims that only young people can do the floss because adults lack necessary eye-hand coordination.
How absurd. Just yesterday I spotted a kid jumping on the bed and another trying to hide beneath it and nabbed one in each hand. My eye-hand coordination is excellent.
That said, the floss is harder than it looks. With feet apart, arms extended and fists clenched, you pretend to be holding dental floss. Now, swing both arms with clenched fists from side to side in front of you, back and forth. Now, this time when you swing your arms, swing one arm in front of you and the other arm behind your back.
Repeat in the other direction. Or go sit down and work on the sloth.
After you get the arms swinging, the hips join in, swinging in the opposite direction of the arms. Now try chewing gum at the same time. Or reciting the alphabet backward.
If I were holding real floss, I would have floss burns on my waist, floss circling my ears and a few strands woven through my hair. My arms tend to overcompensate for what my hips seem unable to accomplish, although my dance instructor is yelling, “Way to floth!”
Inspired, I yell, “Do the toothpaste squeeze!” Arms raised, we move our thumbs and index fingers like we are rolling the end of a toothpaste tube squeezing out the last bead.
“Do the brush!” someone else yells.
We mimic brushing our teeth with invisible toothbrushes.
“Now the ambidextrous brush!” I yell, upping the ante.
Since they have taught me the floss, I offer to teach them the twist.
“Feet together, pretend you are holding one end of a bath towel in each hand and are drying your back after stepping out of the shower, back and forth, while moving up and down. Now move one foot forward and pretend to extinguish a cigarette with your toe.”
“But, Grandma, we don’t smoke!”
“Of course you don’t! You don’t floss, either! Just dance!”
We are flossing and twisting and twisting and flossing the day away, cleaning our teeth and finishing our imaginary showers with such vigour, that tomorrow we may all skip our morning routine — which sounds a lot like doing the sloth.
More from Lori Borgman: