Because pg 4 12-6-18

I am all for honoring people who have done amazing things in and for the world, their country, their profession, or even simply, their own family.  One of the easiest ways to honor such a person, after the planning, organization and implementation of the event, that is, is to simply STAND and give them an ovation when their achievements and name are announced. 
As kids, or even teenagers, didn’t we all dream about doing or becoming something or someone special or extraordinary so that one day, we might also be the recipient of a great award and greeted by an audience, applauding loudly and earnestly, whilst standing in awe.  That moment, for the recipient of the standing ovation, has got to feel — simply stated —  AWESOME.  So why then, are we as a society, totally watering down this gesture?
Today, audiences are not using the standing ovation just for people, but rather for words: If someone, who happens to be speaking, says what someone in the audience likes, they stand.  It’s like the personification of hitting the “Like” button on Facebook.  Other audience members, perhaps not even listening attentively, see someone standing and don’t want to appear rude or, worse yet, left out. Suddenly they suddenly stand, too.  This, of course, sets off a chain reaction of wave-like standers, and soon enough, the speaker has received a standing ovation.  Fast forward two and a half minutes and REPEAT!
Additionally, at said event honoring someone special, the audience seems to be a collective group of zealous supporters with “ants in their pants’ who stand for the announcement of the host, each speaker, the honoree’s close personal friend or chauffer or twice-removed distant cousin… By the time the honoree is actually introduced, the audience is sweating and trying hard to make this standing ovation somehow different from the last 15.  And then, of course, comes the honoree’s speech, which is filled with a plethora of stand-worthy anecdotes and opinions.  By the time the event has concluded, audience members have shed their extra layers of clothing and lost 5 pounds!
Recently, I attended such an event filled with multiple honorees and lots of standing ovation moments.  However, I had recently had foot surgery, which precluded me from standing incessantly.  At first, I felt awkward not standing, as if my posture signified a protest of gratitude for the host or her anecdotes.  My sitting shame overtook me and so I decided to stand, making an extra effort to display my injured foot to those around me.  Soon enough, I grew weary of standing every few minutes and so I decided to happily accept my foot-injury excuse and remain seated.  Interestingly, I began to look around during the standing ovations and noticed that a better part of the audience was now remaining seated as well.  In addition, these audience members did not have foot injuries or medical issues that precluded them from rising and falling with regularity, they had simply had enough. 
Remember when you used to withhold your vertical support applause for the last or lead actors in a production?  After all, they had the most lines and stage time and talent and were the headliners driving up the exorbitant ticket price.  But today, somewhere in the audience is the chorus cast members family and they stand without hesitation when the first performers come out to take their bow, which sets off the audience chain reaction and then you have to stand in order to see who is coming out next.   Or maybe, the standing ovation is just the new cardio class?! Bravo! Bravo!

Kathy Naumann, possessor of NATURALLY curly hair and the understanding that you can’t control everything!


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