Monthly Archives: November 2009

Do he want her AND her chicken tetrazzini?

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Eli Ackerman at the City Council Budget Hearings 11/16/09

Go, Eli, Go!

Save Charity Hospital!

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I am a pro mover.  I pick a city I like and move there.  Usually without knowing a soul, having a job or any kind of plan.  

My first action was usually to pick a bar and go hang out.  Props included: Guinness, a notebook, a weekly and a book.  This was usually enough to spark a decent conversation and get to know all things where/what/who.  After awhile, having the same conversation over and over about why I ended up there would get a little boring, so I started a social experiment.  I started making up stories about why, most of them I’ve forgotten by now.  But, there was one that I loved and I got totally carried away with and a tweet from @theh2hproject this morning reminded me of it.

One of these prop-related incidents ended up with me talking to a poor, gullible schmoe named Scott. I probably only saw him one other time after that night, but I’ll never forget him.  He was my most successful social experiment.  And by successful, I mean he got totally served.

We started talking and the inevitable question came up: So what brought you to Austin?

The rest went like this:

Me: “Well, can I tell you something without you thinking I’m crazy?”

Scott: “Of course!”

Me: “Look, I moved here from Atlanta to live out a life long dream.  A dream my mother said would never, ever come true.  A dream my mother said would never take me anywhere.  But, I had to do it.  I had to try.”

Scott (wide-eyed): “What’s that dream?”

Me: “You’re gonna think I’m crazy.”

Scott: “Not at all! What’s the dream?”

At this point, I lowered my voice and leaned in, looking around for eavesdroppers. Scott leaned in.

Me:  “You really wanna know?”

He nodded.

Me:  “To dance.  To tap dance.”

I think at this point, if I was on the other side of the conversation, I would have burst into raging fits and starts of laughter.  But, not Scott.  Scott was sweet and trusting and his eyes got even wider.

Scott: “Really?”

Me:  “Really.”

I nodded and leaned back in my chair, pausing for dramatic effect.  Satisfied.  I had this guy.  Hook, line, sinker. In that order.  I let him marinate on that for awhile and went to order another beer.  I could see the wheels turning and turning as I sneaked peeks of his face from the wait at the bar.  I stayed in character.  Tap dancer.  I was a tap dancer now.  I got my beer and took a deep breath, returning to the table.

Scott: “So, your mom told you that you’d never make it as a dancer?”

Me: “Yes. She said I’m too big and clumsy to ever be graceful like a tapper.  For years, I believed her.”

Scott: “Wow. Wow.”

We paused for a few sips, enjoying the atmosphere.  I looked around with wonderment and hope against hope in my eyes.  I waited for Scott to ask another question.  

Scott: “So…you moved to Austin to fulfill this dream?”

Me: “I did. And I’m going to do it.  I’m going to make it as a tapdancer.  I’ve got softshoe in my heart, in my blood.  It keeps me awake at night.  Tappity-tap, tappity-tap, it says to me.  I hear it on the wind, around every corner, when I’m in the grocery store or waiting in traffic.  Tappity-tap is the beat of my heart, every kick ball change echoes throughout my soul.  This…”

I looked around and spread my arms, indicating the whole of the city.

Me:  “…this is where it shall happen.”

Scott: “So, is there a big tap scene in Austin?”

Me: “Oh god yes.  It’s huuuuge. Huge.  The biggest around.  The capital of tap.  The TAPITAL, if you will.”

Scott: “Unbelievable.”

Me: “You’re damn right, unbelievable.  I’m here to do it. I’M HERE TO LIVE MY DREAM.”

I finished my beer and grabbed my props, dramatically, whisking myself away and leaving Scott in amazement.  I walked to the exit and turned to him.  

Me: “I’m gonna do it, Scott. I’m gonna do it.”

I left the bar satisfied with myself and hoping he believed me.  I didn’t see Scott again for what would be months and when I did, the first question he asked was, “How’s the tapdancing going?”

I did it. Social experiment complete.  

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There, their and they’re by Henry Fool

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