An Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, ca. 1900.
These days I’m not really one for flash mobs, ubiquitous improv, or other anodyne, faux-spontaneous acts of pranking and merrymaking. I mean, you do you—I’ll be over here, surly and unwacky. I think it’s because a part of me knows I could have gone in that direction, very easily; with one slight twist of fate or genetics, I might be riding the subway in my underpants right now. It is very nearly in my blood.
But if there’s one flash mob in the entire history of the world that needed to exist, it’s this one: an Abbots Bromley Horn Dance sprung on a bunch of unsuspecting New Englanders. I’d be happy to spearhead such an effort myself.
I’ll be honest: one might wish that the ancient rite—consisting of stags, a fool, a bowman, and sundry other pagan players marching to a traditional minor tune—had a few more spectators. Can we get a Bromley in Penn Station? Would that arouse too much suspicion?
I mean, one must be careful with such things. When I forced all my friends to do the Abbots Bromley in a high-school dance concert while wearing papier-mâché staghorns and tunics, I wasn’t under the illusion it was a random act of kindness. I think I may have misunderstood, though, who the joke was really on. Which is to say: me. Which is to say: I am currently sporting pants.
Sadie Stein is contributing editor of The Paris Review and the Daily’s correspondent.
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