I know I use this phrase a lot, but there is nothing worse in the world than when you are at some type of meeting, function, or banquet, and somebody you’ve never heard of in your life is being introduced, and you are forced to give them a standing ovation just because every other person around you is doing it.
I hate this so much. Why in god’s name am I giving a standing ovation to somebody who I didn’t even know existed five minutes ago?
Whenever this happens, there’s always a slow process that leads to this awful, awful situation.
First the person is introduced. Maybe they are being honored for something specific, or maybe they are just being acknowledged for their hard work and service, or maybe they actually won something. When their name is called, you always see one or two people stand up and clap. This is usually somebody who is close to the person who is being honored.
When I see this, from afar, I think, “Haha, sucker. Look at that idiot standing up when nobody else is.”
But then, the rest of that guy’s table stands up and claps. This is when I think, “Uh-oh… I don’t like where this is going.”
And without fail, a slow scattering of people start getting up and following suit, and I think, “Is this really happening?”
Finally, when more than half of the room is standing and applauding, you know you have to do it too. Everyone else does it, and finally you get up, and you’ll probably comment to the person next to you,”Did this really deserve a standing ovation?”
The answer? No. No it did not.
For my job, I go to my fair share of meetings and ceremonies, and am often subjected to this slow form of torture. A standing ovation is undoubtedly a huge honor. If you ever receive one in your lifetime, it means that you probably accomplished something and actually did some good in this world.
But standing ovations are starting to lose their mystique, because they are given way too often. I have nothing against standing ovations in general, but they should be reserved for those who truly and fully deserve it.
If I am at a sporting event, and the jumbotron acknowledges a member of our armed forces who was invited to the game as a ‘thank you’ for his or her service, then by god, I will drop whatever I am holding, stand up and clap with authority. I will stand there proudly and clap.
If I hear about somebody who had a lifelong struggle with some near-fatal physical or internal ailment, and managed to overcome it and return to full strength, and I happen to be somewhere where they are being honored, then you bet your bottom dollar I will give them a standing ovation; for what they’ve been through — they deserve it.
These people are truly heroic. They’ve stared death in the eye and managed to still persevere. These people know the true meaning of sacrifice and commitment, and I’d stand and clap for them any day.
But the other day I was at a school board meeting. And yes, they are as dull and boring and they sound. Probably even worse.
During the first half-hour of the meeting, the board of education honored all of the teachers who are retiring at the end of the year. There were a lot of people in attendance — probably about 200 — because there were other student-awards being given that same night. Needless to say, it was a terrible night.
Anyway, so about 10 teachers were retiring, and every single time one of them was announced, all 200 people stood up and gave a standing ovation.
I understand that teaching is not only a very honorable profession, but an important one. They are responsible for the molding of our youth, and making them become what they are. Every single person who has become successful in this world probably was heavily influenced by a teacher in their lifetime. I get that. I know that teachers go through a lot of shit on a day-to-day basis. Truet me, I am aware of all of that. I am.
But a standing ovation? For retiring?
They are receiving a standing ovation for simply being adequate and not getting fired from their job for a long period of time. They are receiving a standing ovation for doing what every single member of our society is expected to do — work hard and work long.
These people deserve credit for their lengthy careers, no doubt, but the fact that each and every one of them received a standing ovation is comical. First of all, to give ten standing ovations in one night is overdoing it because it doesn’t differentiate between any of them. If you want to give a “standing O,” then do it for the teacher who deserves it most. And not ALL OF THEM.
I’m not trying to pick on teachers, but this is just a recent example I can think of. Tonight I was at a press club awards ceremony, and the guy who received an individualized award received a standing ovation. I pretty much sat in the far corner of the room just so I can avoid association and attention, and I still had to stand for this idiot. Sorry, but nobody deserves a standing ovation for typing stuff on a computer for 30 years. I do it for a living, and I’ll be the first to say it.
There are people who are out their sacrificing their lives for us. Do they really deserve the same level of recognition as someone who worked at a desk job all of their lives?
So people, next time you want to give an ovation to somebody, think twice about what you’re going to do, and you should probably come to the realization that you are better suited to stay seated.
It’s less trouble for everyone.