Dance Like Melissa Isn’t Watching

Coolidge Park is nestled against the shores of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga. There you can get your fill of rock climbing, have a picnic with the family and play in an interactive fountain. You used to be able to even see a dancing park ranger, which I think would be pretty cool, but Melissa Parsons came in and sucked the fun out of that.

Deryl Nelson was the dancing park ranger and the man has some serious moves. He’s worked for the park for seven years and has been dancing for six of those. So, he was getting his dance on as usual while Melissa Parsons was visiting the park. She was instantly appalled, aghast and disgusted by his display of happiness and proceeded to start videoing his dance. I’ve watched the video and the worst thing about it is Melissa’s skills as a videographer, or rather the lack of them. She stated she couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw Deryl start dancing, and that parents were covering their kids’ eyes and turning their heads away. Other eye witnesses said that no one was covering their children’s eyes. And why would they? The dance was harmless. He wasn’t grabbing his junk or anything else that would get him hired as a stripper. It was just a fun dance. So, Melissa sent the video to Deryl’s superiors and he was fired for “conduct unbecoming a park employee.” Sorry, park ranger bosses, but his behavior was awesome, and you should give him his job back. Don’t you wish all your employees had as much fun at their jobs as Deryl did? Wouldn’t you rather visitors see happy, smiling, dancing rangers rather than stone-faced, non-dancing ones?

Public sentiment is on my side on this one, too. In fact, of all the articles I’ve read about this, not a single comment has been on Team Melissa. That’s probably because the leader of team Melissa is a great, big poopy-headed funsucker, if you want to be immature about it, and I do.

I’m not sure why people like Melissa are convinced that they need to screw up someone else’s life. If she was that offended by the dancing, why didn’t she just walk away? Is it some kind of control issue? She almost seems smug about getting this guy fired and for what? Unfortunately, there are a lot of Melissas out there. I don’t think we should cave in to them, either, because it’s only giving them more power, and they’re obviously not capable or worthy of such responsibility.

Boo to the parks department for being such weenies. Boo to Melissa for getting a man fired. And boo to all the other people out there who are Melissaesque. The only good to come out of this is that the entire internet is mad at her. So while she got her 15 minutes of fame, it’s being administered with a big ol’ helping of backlash with a side order of loathing, which is exactly what she ordered.

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can reach her at

Categories: Commentary