The “tango,” (a ballroom dance of Latin American origin) has always been performed by couples. That no more and no number less than a duo (two) could effectively showcase the intricacies (sophistication, difficulty) of the dance, leaves those of us who will never master the dance with the strong belief that the tango might not be an undertaking for the weak and feebleminded.
The well-known saying: “it takes two to tango” could have gotten started as nothing less than a suggestion – that anyone attempting to tango alone on the dance-floor had allowed himself to be fooled into thinking that the hard-work that the tango demands of two people, working vigorously together, could be done as easily and as successfully, by one person.
And that might be why that simple but straightforward statement to the foolish – “not to tangle with the tango all by oneself,” has taken on a life of its own. It would go on to become a household word, meddling in the affairs of millions who find nothing better to do than to go about believing that they are bigger than what they really are.
“It takes two to tango” did not stop at that point: It took on a life of its own, smashing its way into other cultures, focusing the attention of people all over the world, on the unexpected things that other people did – or didn’t do – in matters that involved almost everything other than dance!
Soon, film, television, poetry and drama, began idealizing (celebrating, making special) that simple, short and snappy maxim or saying: “it takes two….” In the process, the media often targeted and exposed the ubiquitous (found everywhere) “I am the man” braggart, telling himself and others that he was stronger or more important than his partner, and was able to carry his share of the work as well as his partner’s.
Today, through song, the soundness and power of that expression has been put to music. People the world over now share that almost unrivaled ditty, (a short, simple song): “No Man Walks Alone.” Take a look:
No man is an island,
No man walks alone.
Each man’s joy is joy to me,
Each man grief is my own.
We need one another:
So I will defend
Each man as my brother—
Each man as my friend!
Before moving on let’s step back a little and revisit the title-fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire in the early to mid-1970s. It might teach a few lessons about how to avoid jumping into things with one’s mind made up ahead of things. George Foreman entered the ring that fateful day, full with all of the answers: Answers to questions he clearly had failed to ask himself; or answers to question that he had failed to ask someone else.
Muhammad Ali was the underdog, and George Foreman was going to beat him to death. Forman did a good beating: But, it was himself he had beaten up. It was he who almost died – from the shame of unimaginable defeat. Foreman is a changed man today; thank God! But the question: “What if?” still remains.