We always have a pile of old broomsticks somewhere in the corner of the living room, often leaning up against the fireplace. Friday night, the gang of kids at my house decided that a broomstick could be a limbo stick. So that was the scene in my living room: music blaring from the CD player while a line of kids moved in all kinds of contorted ways to make it under the limbo stick.
Blonde Niece, the most flexible person in the group, had a decided advantage, bending gracefully back from the waist as she went under the stick. In fact, she had only one complaint as she slid underneath: "Damn! My breasts keep getting in the way!" But despite the breasts, she usually made it through with a final head duck and swish of her pony tail.
Some of the teenage boys proved to be not very flexible at all and dropped out of the game early, choosing instead to sit on the couch and watch Blonde Niece as she moved through the line. With-a-Why and Skater Boy, the two shortest in the room, stayed in the game for a while by virtue of their height.
Boy in Black was the most fun to watch. His height -- he's well over six feet tall -- put him at a real disadvantage over all the shorter kids, but he is way too competitive to let that stop him. Strong leg muscles and determination enabled him to fold his long skinny body up and move under a stick held lower than his waist. He looked like some kind of contortionist.
And of course, Boy in Black kept making up rules for the limbo competition. Your turn is not over until you actually touch the stick. Everyone gets two do-overs. You can only touch the floor with your feet. You are allowed to practice by walking up to the stick in a contorted way as long as you don't touch the stick.
I kept telling the kids how my parents and their friends used to play limbo at parties when I was a child. I would sneak out of bed and watch from the stairs. How funny it would be to watch grown-ups in dress-up clothes going under the limbo stick. "They always kept the music going and the line kept moving," I explained to Boy in Black. "They didn't keep stopping and making up rules."
"That's because they were doing it for fun," he explained with just a hint of a smile flickering across his face. "Whereas we don't do things for fun -- this is a serious competition."