I don't know about you, but personally, I'm a jitterbug man. I also enjoy the challenge of a cha-cha, and the fox trot is the real staple of the dance floor - more fun and classier even than the waltz.

But I never learned the twist - because it was just too controversial.Thirty years ago it rocked the nation and introduced the concept of dancing apart. It was considered "wicked" by many and was even banned in some areas and by some religious denominations.

But that old prejudice does not apply to Shirley Pruffner, 41, and Amy Sida, 15, both of Sandy, who are modern twisters who do not consider themselves gifted.

In fact, Amy had never even heard of Chubby Checker.

Nevertheless, they have been miraculously plucked out of obscurity to lead a twisted life in Los Angeles and Mexico.

That is because Nabisco, manufacturer of Oreo cookies, and Chubby Checker, the country's most famous twister are co-sponsoring an Oreo National Twist Off on Dec. 9 in Los Angeles.

Checker will crown the winners and perform with his band, "The Wildcats."

Bruce Wood, senior vice president of marketing for Nabisco, said, "This is the first national twist competition to be held since 1965. With people twisting the top off of Oreo cookies since 1912, we felt it was a natural for Oreo and Chubby Checker to team up."

Be that as it may, the Oreo National Twist Off is the finale of a multimillion-dollar advertising and promotional campaign that began April 17.

The important theme that makes the program possible is the claim by Nabisco consumer research that nearly 50 percent of consumers twist apart their Oreo cookies prior to eating them.

Shirley Pruffner and Amy Sida did not have to demonstrate devotion to the Oreo, but they won the regional twist competition hosted by KCPX-FM, and will go to Los Angeles to compete against 38 other regional winners from around the country for the national title.

Pruffner and Sida's competition is demographically impressive. Regional winners include a 6-year-old from Houston, a 59-year-old from Miami and a 29-year-old from Astoria, N.Y.

According to Wood, this proves that "both the twist and Oreo cookies are enjoyed by people of every generation and all walks of life."

Pruffner, who twisted as a teenager, works as a teacher's aide at Willow Canyon Elementary School. In all humility, she says, her role in the contest was a freak accident, and the result to her seems even more of a fluke.

As a youth leader for the St. Thomas More Catholic Church, she was attending her church festival at the Old Mill back on June 10 when she discovered that the local twist competition was being held as part of that festival.

She had no plans to enter, but Sida, a sophomore at Judge Memorial High School, needed a partner and one of the partners needed to be over the age of 18.

Sida approached her - Pruffner was over 18 - and so she responded to some gentle pressure.

"I like to dance and Amy likes to dance."

The competition was held in 90-degree temperatures and so, even though Puffner walks to keep in shape, it was no piece of cake.

"They said to be original and do your own thing, so that's exactly what we did. I don't think we're that good, but there were a lot of people cheering us on."

They must have had something, because they walked away with the title in a contest that included 24 couples.

Now they are off to Los Angeles for the National Twist Off with the other 39 finalists. When it's over they will go on a four-day Twist Cruise to Mexico.

There they will finally relax - undoubtedly with thousands of Oreo cookies. Now that should be an interesting twist.