Opening night of the musical '50s and '60s Revue had just ended at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre last week, and we were gathering up our belongings to head to the parking lot. An older man headed straight for me, his face twisted in anger.
"You're that writer, aren't you?" he snarled, his lip curling.
Usually when someone approaches me that way, it's because I've written an unflattering review of a show they've been in. So I smiled weakly and acknowledged that, yes, I'm the writer.
Well, he went on, (and I'm paraphrasing here), I hope you write that it's those people in the second act that caused all the trouble.
"Well, well, everybody's a critic," I thought. I was gathering my thoughts to say that, in my opinion, the second act featuring music from the '60s was much more interesting than the '50s segment, mainly because the '60s were more interesting politically, socially, culturally and creatively. The dancing was livelier, the actors more animated, the jokes better.
But that wasn't the man's point.
It's "those people" from that time that caused all the problems in America today, he said.
I finally got it. The man was angry at the hippies and the whole '60s scene of women's liberation, civil rights and war protests, because that's what '60s music is all about. I began mumbling a defense and inching away, when the man leaned in and declared, "I'm 81 years old, and I know!"
I am a child of the '50s and '60s, and I just couldn't let this go. I worked up my toughest voice and let it all out.
"No. You. DON'T."
Late this week, I read a story quoting South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham bemoaning the future of his party. He was thinking about the changing demographics of the United States — not just the increasing numbers of Hispanics and blacks, but also increasing numbers of women voters, the majority of whom vote for Democrats — and became disarmingly candid.
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term," Graham said.
I'm pretty sure I met up with one.
• • •
There are few events or experiences that I can say have been truly life changing for me, but the 10 months I've been in Taoist Tai Chi classes in New Port Richey have indeed changed me mentally and physically.
My balance is much better, my stamina improved, and, perhaps best of all, my lower back pain is gone and my recent DEXA bone scan shows that my dear old bones are no longer deteriorating, despite the fact that's I'm not taking any medication for them or doing anything other than my daily tai chi movements.
As a bonus, I've met some really interesting, neat people during class.
Now the New Port Richey arm of Taoist Tai Chi is again offering four free introductory classes in the ancient art at the Hudson Regional Library off Fivay Road in Hudson. They'll be at 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28. A certified instructor and several helpers will be there to demonstrate and teach the first 17 of the 108 moves in the set. You can sign up at the library on the first day of class.
There are several different kinds and routines of tai chi, but the Taoist is probably the most popular and widespread, with classes in more than 25 countries around the world and more than half of the United States. This means that once you join, you can visit and participate in almost any Taoist Tai Chi class at no cost.
If the four initial lessons get you as hooked as they did me, you can learn the whole set and then move on to more precise and challenging moves at several locations in the area, including the New Port Richey Recreation Center (for classes elsewhere, see www.taoist.org and click on "classes near you.") As a New Port Richey nonresident and nonmember of the center, I pay $30 a month for up to four classes a week (two beginner and/or two continuing) with top-notch volunteer teachers all year long.