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Wanderer at rest: Do your best Jagger, John

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By Jamie Balke Big Sky Weekly Columnist


Why the maniacal laughter? As soon as my brother reads the title of this column, he will have to stop whatever he’s doing, and dance around wildly wherever he is, no matter what.

I’ll explain a bit further.

My brother and his friends are my kind of people – intelligent, funny, and most importantly, spiteful. For quite some time they have been playing what they call the “Jagger game.”

The gist is that if you join, you gain the ability to tell other participants to do their best Jagger once an hour. Of course I am referring to the hip wiggling, flailing dance moves of the one and only Mick Jagger. The downside is that you may also be called upon to shake it Jagger-style at any time, thereby forfeiting your dignity.

Once you join, there is no way out, and excuses are not tolerated for noncompliance. Remember, these people are creative and vindictive, so if called upon, you shake it. The Jagger game is for keeps, and it must be your best Jagger.

Shortly after moving to Bozeman, I made my first Jagger challenge and now live in perpetual regret. Because I’m thorough, there was research involved. If I was to dance in public (something I typically avoid like the plague), I was going to do it right. After spending a significant amount of time in front of the computer, watching Rolling Stones’ music videos and following along, I honed my moves.

Since joining, I have been “Jaggered” (we use it as a verb) all over town. Highlights have included the movie theater (front row), dinner parties (the nice kind), in bed (you heard me), and the county fair (the perfect place to be made into a spectacle).

My least favorite experience has been the phone message Jagger. When Jaggered with friends, I am at least provided the opportunity to point accusingly and loudly proclaim my distress before the humiliation begins. When I am all alone checking voicemail for example, or getting groceries out of the car, there is only me, sashaying down the silent street while neighbors watch with concern.

The advantage of course, is the excellent potential for revenge.

Allow me to relate what I consider to be my crowning achievement thus far. My brother was in a crowded airport, and called me for some sort of advice. Near the end of the conversation as he was saying goodbye, I stopped him, explaining that we had one final matter to discuss.

After instructing him to do his best Jagger, my brother’s typically strong voice fell to a whisper. Crestfallen and betrayed he pleaded, “No. Please, no? There are policemen everywhere.” His bad luck was to the amusing good fortune of travelers in the terminal.

Depending on where this column finds my brother, I may have to revise my crowning achievement statement.

Jamie Balke moved to Bozeman in the fall of 2009. She likes to think she can move like Jagger.

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