A few years ago I read an article that claimed people should only allow themselves ten standing ovations in any given lifetime.
I believe the reasoning behind this societal Nazism was that standing ovations, like Taylor Swift and the phrase “I love you,” are becoming overplayed—watered down to the point of being practically meaningless anymore.
It was just the sort of hoity toity snobbery I bought into back then.
During the ensuing months, and for the next few years, I brooded my way through event after event, feeling smugly proud of myself for remaining in my seat at the conclusion of concerts I deemed sub-par, while my neighboring attendees anxiously leaped to their feet in eager, hearty praise.
“Ignorant fools,” I thought to myself, “Don’t they know they should only give out ten standing ovations throughout their lifetime? Ten only, and they’re wasting one on this garbage?”
“No way will I stand up for this,” I rationalised greedily, “Who knows what spectacular shows I will come across in my lifetime? I must be exclusive!”
Image (and prime example of what I’m talking about) from here.
I became the strictest of critics, never enjoying any affair quite enough to grace it with my standing ovation’s presence…
…Until one day it struck me that in five year’s time I had not stood for a single performance I’d attended.
Really? Really, Camille? In five year’s worth of performances, not one has risen high enough to meet—let alone exceed, heaven forbid—your expectations? And when was the last time you performed for an audience? Would your own performance have been stand-worthy? Surely not. All talk and no action, that’s what you’re made of. Sissy.
I realised that my bandwagon snobbery was not making the world a better place. By refusing to stand for anything but the best—the absolute best—of performances, I was not at the forefront of a brilliant crusade for human rights or poverty stricken countries or anything that meant anything at all. The only thing I was accomplishing was looking like a total jerk.
And feeling like one, too.
Sure, the cultural life in Mayberry is different than what I’m used to from my life in Mesa. Different, though—not worse. I am fascinated by the work and dedication people in this little town sacrifice in order to keep the arts alive—and what’s more, thriving! When I have kids, will I stay up till all hours of the night sewing costumes for their singing and dancing and ice skating competitions? Will I strive, like my parents strove, never to miss a performance? For goodness’ sake, will I deign to offer my own children one of my oh-so-precious standing ovations?
Being a yuppie is a nice dream. Being rich and elite and better than you—a nice idea, in theory.
But in practice? It’s not worth having my soul sucked out of my brain through my nose like the Ancient Egyptians did to their dead kings before the mummification process.
Maybe I’ll start standing more, and maybe you’ll watch me from your seated position beside me and think, “Ignorant fool, she lavishes her praise so freely she might as well get a room and make a few bucks on it, the applause whore.”
Maybe you’ll think that.
But I guess there’s nothing I can do about it.
I’m hanging up my snob hat and embracing my inner hick.