Applause

dirty RockyWhat a bad dirty horse you are! I just gave you a bath! Couldn’t you have waited until you were dry? Is that too much to ask? What’s the matter with you?

What a good girl. What a good roll! Can you get the other side, too? Did you get all your itches? Great job, good horse!

Don’t praise her. She’ll get the wrong idea. She’ll get a big head. She’ll get conceited.  No one will like her if she’s conceited. She’ll thinks she’s the boss. You need to mold her to your specifications.

A horse gotta do what a horse gotta do! How beautiful to watch her be herself. How exciting that she can roll without the stiffness and discomfort she was experiencing. How satisfying it must feel to give the belly a good scratch! Here, have some fresh hay. There’s absolutely no mold tainting the stems.

Yesterday I heard someone on the radio talking about the curse of social media and how it has led us all to seek positive feedback. How many clicks? How many likes? How many comments? Are we more frenetic in seeking approval because of social media, or have we been starved and, like parched survivors of a seemingly infinite desert crawl, bellied up to the refreshing cool stream of hearts, thumbs ups and smiley faces?

The person on the radio was a performer of some kind, and she talked about the abyss that rises up to greet you after the applause. Is this the fault of the applause, or the fact that, deprived of praise, we falter when we hear it? We doubt we deserve it. Get it away from me! If allowed to wash over us, will our imperfections be revealed? If we smile, wide and open-mouthed, to take it into our being will our heads explode?

So we let it go, and recommence the flagellation. Whip marks get results. Shut down and status quo, we cause no ripples. We do as we are told. Predictable sameness calms our existential longing. Until someone clicks “like”.