Biff America: The immodest, deadly power of the naked bunny hop (column)
March 24, 2018
My sister called me on Saint Patrick's Day to remind me of the time I killed my great Aunt Agnes. This is not the first time I've been accused of this and I've always felt it was a bum rap.
She was, after all, 88 years old when her heart gave out. But she did have that heart attack, almost three months to the day, after I, fresh out of the shower, gave her a nude performance of the "bunny hop."
As a child, I loved to be naked. My mother would allow me to dry off after a bath by sprinting around the house nude, like a freshly washed greyhound. I remember hot summer nights, and the joy of running wet and in the buff on our newly mowed lawn. Often, to hasten the drying process, I would throw in a few bunny hops.
In retrospect this might have been the cause of the declining property values in that neighborhood.
To those unacquainted with the bunny hop; the proper form is to hold your hands in front of your chest in rabbit position, while at the same time taking several quick jumps. The jumping movement accelerates the drying process and causes anything not strapped down to bounce.
I only vaguely remember my Great Aunt Agnes as a sullen, dour woman with a mustache. She never married and, as far as anyone could remember, never dated. Part of our family lore was that as a young girl Agnes had a medical procedure that (technically) made her no longer a virgin. Supposedly, the doctor provided a document that explained to any future suitors, that though Agnes' hymen was no longer intact, she in fact was a virgin. According to myth, Agnes kept her certificate of virginity handy well into her 80s. To anyone's recollection no one ever inquired.
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Whenever she came to visit my Mum would caution us, "Agnes is not used to kids, so behave."
Like many family stories I hardly remember the actual event and admittedly the incident has gotten massaged by the retelling over the years. But the story goes that while my Mum and Great Aunt were enjoying a cup of tea, I, fresh out of the bath, bounded out of the bathroom, bunny-hopped to Aunt Agnes, and gave her a wet hug.
This wasn't the last time my naked body caused an element of disgust.
The family legend continues that after I took my bows and exited, Agnes remained distracted the entire evening. She was inept in the after-dinner hearts game, and retired early claiming a headache.
A few months later she passed away and I was not mentioned in her will.
Supposedly Adam and Eve went buck naked while living in the Garden of Eden. According to Scripture, after their apple eating caused them to feel shame, they put on clothing. (Though I've always wondered if maybe that was the same time God created ticks.)
I honestly only remember the telling of those stories rather than the actual event. But I do remember feeling shame (or at least modesty) soon after.
Somewhere, sometime, some people decided what was proper, and what was immodest, and we bought into it. Whoever those people were, they determined that a naked body was not natural but sexual.
Since Adam and Eve, we've only gotten weirder about our bodies. There are some religions where married couples allegedly make love with a sheet between them with a hole cut in it. Who am I to judge, but I will say I would not advise going to their house on Halloween dressed as a ghost.
My naked bunny hopping days are long behind me. This was probably a combination of my Catholic training and my parents' sensibilities. But somewhere along the line, like Adam and Eve, I became modest. Gone are the days when I frolicked like a wild creature, comfortable with my native state. Even with dear friends, I feel an underlying shyness that prevents me from feeling totally natural when I'm . . . Well, you know, natural.
Call it modesty, prudence or propriety. I'm most comfortable (and more attractive) when I'm clothed. Maybe there's still that lingering doubt, that the family legend is fact. Certain parts of my anatomy can be deadly to those with weak hearts — or weak stomachs.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff's new book "Mind, Body, Soul." is available at local shops and bookstores or http://shop.holpublications.com/products/biff-america-mind-body-soul.
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