Last night I attended a swingin’ Christmas-themed performance by Denver & the Mile High Orchestra. I love big band stuff, and apparently a lot of other people in my region do as the theater was packed in spite of a major snowstorm barreling through the area all day.

While all kinds were there, my eye kept wandering across the aisle to check on a certain individual. She was an older lady–and a very nice one, I’m sure–but she suffered from some sort of affliction that left her completely incapable of clapping on beat. Perhaps it was from years of trying to work a Clapper with a short, or maybe she’d just been a death metal fan all her life. Regardless, when the band got people to clap, this poor soul would be trapped in some ethereal, ever-changing tempo in her head.

I tried my hardest. I willed my clapping to her from across the aisle, hoping she would pick it up. Every now and then our hands matched and I would give an inner whoop of joy, but like a broken clock she’d only be right once or twice per song and then be lost again into the ether. At one point I was even tempted to jump over behind her seat, firmly yet compassionately grasp her hands and clap them together correctly just to grant her a small taste of how wonderful it is to feel like you’re an actual part of a song.

Alas, I did not, and I will likely never see this rhythmically-impaired woman ever again. But if you know an individual such as her, take some time today to give them a gentle, 2/4 time pat on the back and show your support. Because while it’s fine to march to the beat of a different drummer, you should still be able to clap to the drummer right in front of you.

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