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Hello Walls

Yesterday I delivered a brief, suitably awkward Meet Me And My Psychosis speech to the research staff of the American Antiquarian Society, where I'm conducting my latest residency; I told them that I would need a lot of help since I am an "experienced-informed writer," which in non MFA BS-speak means "I'd rather not get up walk to the reference desk, which is all the way over there, and interact with another human being in order to access material from which I might learn something, so I'll just book a seat on the soonest available Boston Chocoate Trolley Tour instead."

However, in terms of my Ohio State work, I might face logistical considerations while attempting to glide after my Drum Majors in the back of a climate controlled, chauffer-directed trolley--also the cheery clanging might prevent me from hearing such vital, character-revealing injunctions as "Stop doing that"-- and one of the primary tradmarks of the band in general and the DM in particular is the strut.  Proper strutting is such a physically taxing, regimented and unnatural act that the first time I saw it done in person, I knew I'd have to try it myself in order to truly know the full spectrum of your average OSU Drum Major's mighty deeds.

I also knew that this was going to be ugly.  Alex Who Talks Real Pretty, for all his apparent intelligence, has offered to give me a strut lesson when I return from the 18th century next month.  I think it best that this onerous task has fallen to him, as he attended high school... well, here, which means he's had the opportunity to see some s***, which means he is far better equipped than his successors to handle the horror that is me attempting any kind of athletic activity. 

Also Alex does not terrify me.  Jason The Ridiculously Awesome Drum Major, in his very awesomeness, terrifies me; so does Matt The Badass, for obvious reasons; and Kyle The Assistant, because I don't know him very well, but what I do know about him is that he is a gymnast and his major is something like Doing Push-Ups One-Handed Because the Other Hand is Otherwise Occupied With Hurling Anvils Great, Great Distances.  But Alex's degree is in English, and we settle in for nice cozy chats about comma splices and plot construction and proper use of "whereas", and this has created a bond of trust which will last long after the strutting-resultant lawsuits are settled.

JD Who Gots Game, in his vulnerable, cooler-toting way, advised me to work my hamstrings, calves, and quads in preparation, which I've done, in typical half-cheeked Total Cluster fashion; but this morning, there was still maybe 40 seconds of C+C Music Factory left and I didn't know quite what to do with it.  And that is when I thought of my beloved wall kicking of Winter and Summer Sessions. 

How hard could it be?

So I tried it.  And, as is often the outcome when I try to Do Things, enthusiasm crashed head-on into reality and personal incompetence. 

Turns out there's more than one way to kick a wall, and the fact that I had chosen of the many, many incorrect forms dawned as I stumbled into it shoulder-first.   This raised a whole raft of concerns about technique:  Should I flick my leg, like Dale the fluorescent lime-green bicycle shorts-wearing kickboxing instructor once insisted?  Or was proper Drum Major wallkicking more like a punt from my illustrious twelve-year soccer career, which resulted in a participation trophy and two scars on my left knee from falling down outside a concession stand?  Are you supposed to switch legs on each kick, or heel-drive the living crap out of the plaster one shoe at a time?  Was the point to strike with the heel, the toe, or the whole foot at once, all Norris-style? Do you turn in the direction of the momentum or tamp down with your abs? What if your abs were hidden beneath layers and layers of Oreo McFlurries? I didn't have a baton to cling to, as D-Row does-- was I even allowed to do this without a baton?  Could I just hold the nearest available mace-like object (at the moment, a fresh stick of Smoke Signal eyeliner)?

After a while my hip flexors became very cross-- I think it was my hip flexors, I heard Jillian Michaels scream about them once--and the song ended, so I stopped.  I mean, there's experience, and then there's actually visiting the reference desk.

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