Tuesday, June 02, 2015


I heard and watched repeated rounds of applause this evening at a senior sports banquet. I myself applauded frequently as a proud parent. Applause. We are told the word derives from Latin, meaning the beating of wings, an angelic image if you accept the wings-on-angels premise as depicted in medieval art. (Or was it Renaissance art? Or both?) Applause, the repeated joining of hands in praise. Granted, it can get tiresome after forty or fifty times. Is it not true that you can tell if someone is righty or lefty just by watching them clap? I'm lefty. My left hand claps onto my right. What would an ambidextrous person do? Clap like one of those wind-up chimps that was a toy in the Fifties? Doubt it. When did humans first applaud? Have they ever clapped feet instead of hands? Or anything else? If aliens appeared, how would we explain this habit? Do some cultures clap louder, or softer, than others? What are aural or oral or verbal equivalents of applause? Hoot-hoots more than grunts, right?

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