punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,
punkwalrus
punkwalrus

Contact Juggling, Dyspraxia, and me

This Balticon I met someone who was a contact juggler. I forgot her name, but she was working in the merchant's room, I think next to the table selling wrap pants. Almost everyone knows contact juggling by a different label, "That thing David Bowie does with crystal balls in the movie Labyrinth," and until last weekend, I only knew an additional, "which probably has a proper name in performing arts circles, because I saw the guy do it on the Tonight Show once." The girl was a perfectly ordinary fannish person. She wasn't some anorexic dancer diva like the famous Michael Moschen (link to Youtube video), which I think would intimidate most people because they'd think, "Well, I'd have to look like a Greek athlete to attempt such a thing. Game over."

When I asked her where she got the crystal spheres, she said, "Oh, they sell them online. But I just started on my own two years ago, practicing with this." The ball she brought up was an ordinary rubber fetching ball one buys for a large dog. She said it had the weight she needed, "without going CRACK into my jaw when I missed."

This seems like a fun thing to do at my desk, and ever since "Labyrinth," I have been enthralled with the skill. The trouble is, I have next to no coordination. I have tried regular juggling, but the issue is that when I cannot see my hands, I don't know where they are, which is part of my dyslexia called "motor control dyspraxia" (it's also part of why I don't drive a car... yet). But I still persevere; they said I'd never learn to type, and while I cannot touch type, I can hunt'n'peck at 50-60wpm, which is pretty damn good for anybody. I also learned how to use a butterfly knife, which is outstanding. I am also working on the driving thing, since at least 50% of the problem is panic issues, and I'll just have to accept I am going to ding a few things, scratch my fenders, and have a banged up car and to stop worrying about it. If I have learned to walk among dumbass people in the Metro without too many collisions, I can manage a car.

But I think I might finally also learn to master this simple maneuver: Bernadette's butterfly arms trick, which would only make sense to kids who grew up in the 70s.
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