Applause, Please
John W. Pinkerton
I’ve only received applause once in my life: I walked in on a workshop of about twenty artists.  The lady conducting the workshop introduced me to the group and told them that I had just sold 165 paintings in my first show.  The group immediately broke into a loud round of applause.  I was shocked: so unfamiliar with the sound directed at me, I came close to saying, “What the Hell is that?”

I was in the army for 2 years, taught for 25 years and was a district librarian for 10 years, and I can’t recall a single time that I received applause for a job well done.  I know you’re thinking I probably never did a job well, but I did.

Truthfully, I never expected applause for doing my job.  I was getting paid, not much, but enough to consider that a reasonable reward.

But there was something about that applause which comes back to my mind occasionally.  

I suspect it must be pretty neat to be in a line of work that elicits applause: comedian, actor or actress, athlete, politician. 

Lady Gaga even has a song entitled “Applause.”  A portion of the song goes as follows:

I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause-plause
Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause

But if you’re an electrician, plumber, teacher, lawyer, preacher, doctor, salesman, housewife, nurse…no applause for you.

We all know that applause is an expression of approval expressed by clapping the palms of the hands together.  In most countries the clapping is random; however, in Russia, Norway and other northern and eastern European countries, the clapping is synchronized.  Weird but true.

There are various customs which have developed related to applause.  It’s frowned on by most churches except for special occasions.  Most musicians are applauded at the end of their songs, but jazz musicians may receive applause after an improvisational solo by a musician, and politicians are usually applauded before they even begin to speak and are often interrupted during their speeches.  Now, you must admit, that’s a little strange for a group of folks who are generally not respected.  By the way, applause at funerals is a no-no.

Of course there is the standing ovation which indicates supreme approval.  Of course I don’t hope for one of those, but a little applause occasionally wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Perhaps I’ll record applause and play it when I’m feeling down and need a little boost:

Now I need to work on that theme music thing.


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