It is not true that doing the twist prevents aging, but it is true that not doing the twist prevents youth. Yes, daily America’s view of the dance has been temporarily poisoned by a sailor’s slew of cash-in LPs ranging from Bo Diddley’s 1962 “Bo Diddley is a Twister” to Johnny Cash’s same-year best-forgotten platter “Shot a Man In Reno Just to Watch Him Twist: 22 Dance Party Favorites from the Twister in Black.” But lettuce recall an incident several years prior, when both Robinson and Nimni found themselves at that storied corner (Rampart and Canal). No, Charles Checker himself did not show, but what did arrive was revelation: a realization that without a good twist, we weren’t going to get anywhere far. And so, as we began to twist, so did those elsewhere on the pavement, until by midday half the Crescent City was twisting with merriment and poise. A symptom of too much masculinity? Perhaps. But we maintain that our twists, and theirs, were a community good, and to the skeptics we pose this question: is the presence of dancing in the streets not the foremost measure of a healthy city? GNP, GNH, DDT: all of these measures fail gloriously at capturing what it is we mean when we say “The society that twists together, stays together.” Go out and find yourself a more accurate map of the Central Business District, we dare you. Number of twists per capita will continue to bubble to the top like a tableside Cousteau.
From Blueprints for a Sparkling Tomorrow (revised & expanded edition), written with Oren Nimni, under contract with Sycophantic Palms Press.