Streamed Consciousness

A can of soda really makes me feel grand. Christmas is coming soon; you can tell this because of the air. I’m attempting to switch to Chrome, it seems stable, but there are bugs in the PDF viewer. Car was very dusty, dusted it. Wax attracts that dirt. Birdy is sleeping, called Mommy and Daddy earlier. Homework overwhelms. My throat hurts, and I feel very sick. It’s amazing how often Oreos come out with one side the wrong way out.

Accept with simplicity everything that happens to you.

Unconditional Applause

My first high school band director had an expectation of his band, that we give a standing ovation to each and every band that performed to us. To this day, on first blush, it seems a bit odd and may even strike me as irritatingly redundant. The more I don’t want to commit to this simple compliment, the more I try to remind myself that if I can, I must. That maxim comes from a motivational speaker hired by that aforementioned high school band director. If you can, you must.

Obviously barring any juvenile applications of this advice (e.g., I can murder people, but I shouldn’t; or I can cut the purse strings off that obviously very expensive bag that old lady is lady is wearing, but I’m not going to) this makes a lot of sense. For one, doing so puts you well into feel good territory, the kind that gets you high if you eat healthily, volunteer, or solve an exceedingly difficult problem. There is then an obvious selfish impulse to applauding unconditionally. The other side of this equation is even simpler; how do you feel when you, yourself, receive a standing ovation?

I anticipate that the efficacy of this applause will be brought in question, somehow reduced by the seemingly unprovoked and even undeserved nature of the recipient. I’ll admit, it’s a worthy argument. But if we can simply clap harder, and clap louder, and clap longer, I think the point will get there. Good performances deserve a positive response, and great ones, world-records. The simple fact of the matter is, that I have precious little to do with my time most days and my hands are well able. If someone gives an effort, I’ll give one back.

This is why I clap for performances. I suppose this is why most people clap after performances: to show their gratitude, extoll virtuosity, etc., but I have to wonder if this always the response they give. What good comes from negative feedback? If I fail someone on a peer review, did I accomplish anything but to insure that reviewed never performs again? I’m not suggesting we delude performers with our unconditional applause; they’ll know if what they’ve done is good or bad. I suggest we praise the effort they’ve put forth (it’s a hell of an effort), because we can.