I Don’t Do That Podcast (With Ocho)
Put your hands together for David, who does not put their hands together! They will snap their fingers, and even play hand drums. But don’t expect them to clap. Listen to their story here.
Ocho: Welcome back to I Don’t Do That, a podcast with me, Ocho. This is where we talk to people about things that they don’t do. And hopefully in the end, we understand each other better. Enjoy.
[theme music plays]
Ocho: Episode 2. You want to snap our fingers?
David: Yeah, I guess we can.
Ocho: Episode 2 is “I Don’t Clap My Hands.” We’re talking with David, who does not clap their hands. David is in their mid-30s. They work for a college in the upper Midwestern United States. They identify themselves as Black, and non-binary. David, it is a pleasure to have you on the show, and I’m ready to talk about this.
Ocho: So I don’t clap?
David: Yeah. That’s the long and short of it.
Ocho: What does that mean?
David: So like I just basically am not super into it and so I really just don’t…like and I’ll still like give applause like if a performance is really worth it but I usually default to the snapping kind of thing that I guess some people are into…
Ocho: So you snap your fingers.
David: Yeah, but yeah, clapping I’m just like, I hate it. I’m not really into it. Not like a strong hate, but I’m opposed to it. And I’d rather that it didn’t happen.
Ocho: What is it about it? Is it the sound, or the tactile sensation or what ?
David: I think it is, just like the tactile sensation of ramming your hands together. At like I high velocity. It’s just like, why are we doing that? And like, it was definitely something like as a kid…
Ocho: Like it stings?
David: Yeah to some degree. And like if I’m actually going to get a sound , thin it’s just like, you’re going to be doing like one consistent point of damage to your hands like, a D&D reference kind of situation
David: You’re doing some small damage to your hands to just basically say, yeah, I’m going to do this over and over again. And it’s just like there are other ways to like show, like, hey, I really enjoyed your performance and so, I probably default to one of those.
Ocho: M-hmm, do you ever find that you are masochistic in any way or are you more just into trying to feel good and bolster yourself and experience pleasure?
David: Um, I don’t know. Like and I think that there are other ways where I’m like, I’m not opposed to spicy foods. I like sour candy. I love sour candy and and it gets to the point where Tasha’s like this is so absurd, like “why do you even like this?” So I definitely think there are things where I can recognize like, this is an unpleasant experience, but I’m open to that one, and I think like there are other ways where I’m like, “this is this isn’t really doing anything for me and I hate it,” so I’m going to be done with it for the most part.
Ocho: So It isn’t just that one point of damage, but that’s part of it.
David: Yeah, and I think as well like okay so one of the things that, I was mentioning is like I grew up in the church, you know? And specifically, a fairly decent-sized, like, Black church. With like, one hell of a choir program, which is where I learned how to sing. And all of the songs they do in there, there’s like a typical, you’re clapping on 2 and 4 beats, pretty much consistently throughout the entirety of the song and with our church that I grew up in as a kid, where I was baptized, and all that good stuff, they were known during the time that I went there for their choir program. And so it wouldn’t be just like one or two songs, it would be like whole concerts, you know? And so you’re there for like an hour and a half. My Grandmother taught Sunday school, so it wasn’t just like a…You’re there for choir practice, you’re there for the actual performance itself. You get there like 6:00 in the morning for Bible study. And then you’re like serving food afterwards and things of that nature so like, church was an all-day event. And a large portion is I was just like, all right, here in a choir performance, here’s three hours consecutively of just clapping on the 2’s and the 4’s and so I was just like “I’m so over this.” And so it was like so repetitive and I was just like, oh my God, like
Ocho: Maybe it’s just being made to do it, right? So…
David: Yeah, I think for the most part it was probably more so that and then I was just like, oh, it kinda…
Ocho: No one ever made you eat Sour Patch Kids for three hours. And if they did that, you probably wouldn’t want to do that either.
David: Yeah. I will say like on the sour candy situation, sour Skittles are terrible. And like, they’re very, they’re pretty sour, but like they’ve got that like hard crystalline and sugar on it that just like destroys the roof of your mouth. It’s not…avoid those.
Ocho: Yeah, it tears up your pallet. This program is not brought to you by Skittles, I’m just gonna say that.
David: Well, I like other Skittles…
Ocho: Anyway, let’s get back to the clapping though.
David: Yeah, I’m not into it. And it’s weird it’s like bled over into like just day-to-day life too, you know? Because it definitely started as like an aversion to like the mandatory like rhythmic clapping that just goes along with these marathon church sessions.
David: Then I was just like, you know what? Actually, I just don’t like it across the board and I think, when I was coming up I ended up going to a couple like, poetry slams or whatever, and they were like “oh yeah, we’re just gonna do the snapping thing instead,” right? And like rhythmically sonically or whatever, like the sound of like a hundred people in a room snapping is so much like better than like an applause.
Ocho: Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, it’s like, it’s a softer kind of sound.
David: Yeah, it’s not nearly as abrasive. It’s just like, I dunno, I feel like you can definitely get like…I’ve been in places where there’s an overwhelming applause where I’m just like, yo, I’m low-key uncomfortable being in this space. And like, I just have never experienced that when it’s like “oh yeah, we’re just gonna do the clap thing to like show support, like let’s just do it that way instead.” And I think in places where that’s the culture, and just that’s the vibe, it’s also a lot friendlier to like people were like apt to get overwhelmed for various reasons.
Ocho: Yeah I certainly am too. Like if I’m in a big…even if it’s not big…honestly, sometimes if it’s small, is the thing, but if it’s like a very, like reflective space with the sound, and just like all these walls, and a lot of noise, just bouncing around the room, that can really stress me out. Like, a lot of the venues that we play at…but I gotta ask because related to that because like, okay, so I’m with you, and you’re playing hand drums and you’re literally, like, slapping something with your hand and make noise. You’re not slapping them together, right? and you’re doing it on 2 and 4, ya know?
David: Yeah it’s definitely like a lot of the same things, biut I think like, #1 is just like, oh yeah, like I think like with the church situation you’re in the audience, so like you’re not actually a part of the musical performance, you just happen to also be clapping and like I get the crowd participation to some degree, and like I thrive on that when I’m actually on stage, so like it makes sense and I appreciate it when it’s happening but at the same time like being a part of that crowd participation in that way, is not really my thing but yeah the hand drum? Eh, it’s not the thing in the world. Now my hands are pretty darned raw at the end of that though. And so I’m sitting here, and I’m like “agh, this sucks,” and I can’t quite put my wedding rings back on, for probably about a half an hour after we play, or something like that. So that’s really the extent of it. So like I’m definitely doing a lot more damage to my hands playing hand drum. Than I would be just like applauding for 5 seconds after a show. But yeah, I definitely find the applause a lot more like detestable than playing hand drum for three hours, even if I am literally doing way more damage playing hand drums.
Ocho: Well, it sounds like that may be a sacrifice that you made, for the reward?
David: Right. And yeah and I mean like you know, we’ve talked about it before, but like, playing music on a stage isn’t for me, like a vanity project. To some degree it is, like, it’s cool, but I enjoy being a part of, you know, the band because you know, we are playing music together. And so I know we mentioned it, but even if there’s a horrible audience, you know, there’s still the four of us on stage playing together. And if…you know, getting to be a part of that and being able to create with that group of people means I have to do a little bit of damage to my hands, like, 100 % every day I’ll make that trade. Not even a question. I’m not really getting the same camaraderie out of being part of a crowd and just like applauding at the end of a performance. I’m not doing that for the fellow people of the audience in the same way that I’m like, slapping my hand against the drum for the fellow people on the stage with me.
Ocho: Yeah I imagine there’s a lot of people at church who get more out of it. That’s their equivalent, maybe, that they’re willing to sacrifice that and feel his kind of burn and what not and maybe they come to enjoy it. I don’t know; I was raised in a church where we didn’t do that so I don’t really know what that would be like. I sort of think, speculating, that your kind of church would be more fun, you know, but I don’t know.
David: Yeah, I mean, if you’ve seen like Blues Brothers, like take the cartwheels in the aisles out, and you’ve pretty much got that. You know, especially the church that we grew up in because like their music program was what they were known for, and so they did a fantastic job of it, and so like there was definitely a lot more celebration.
Ocho: So if you’re not clapping, is it ever conspicuous? I mean, especially at church, if people expect that you’d be doing it and you’re not.
David: See, yeah, it super would be and yeah, it 100% is. And I think that’s like, the issue and like if I’m at church with my mom or something like that, then it’s just like, look, I would much rather suffer the like, the situation of actually clapping as opposed to, like, just being like, yo, “You just not into it? Like this is Jesus we’re talking about, right? And It was like you’re just you’re just not into it? You’re not interested in any of this? And I’m like, no, I’m interested in the Jesus part. Just I would rather not clap. And then I’d have to have a conversation in the middle of church [laughs]
Ocho: “Do what he did for you, David?”
David: Right. The least you could do…and I’m like sure. I mean, I don’t want to have that conversation in the middle of a church. service with like 200 people like…it’s a whole thing.
Ocho: That’s fair so you just do it anyway
David: Yeah I just suffer through. But I’m like, this sucks.
Ocho: So if it’s going to lead to problems. You’ll just clap. Even if you don’t want to. Sometimes we do things we don’t want to.
David: Basically. Yeah.
Ocho: That makes sense. I feel like I understand it pretty well like the origin and the physical experience.And there are exceptions. And that makes it meaningful to sacrifice and to actually do something that you ordianrily don’t take pleasure in doing. Are you ever snapping your fingers when other people are clapping, like maybe that makes up for the fact that you’re not clapping?
David: I like to think so, but I’ve never actually taken a poll of like people in a general space.
Ocho: Yeah, yeah.
David: I’m definitely probably snapping if like everyone else is applauding and I’m hoping at that point that everyone is so focused on like the performance that is just taking place that like nobody’s seeing me over here just being like all right, let’s do this. Like here we go. They would get the double hand action. And I’m assuming people are so focused ahead of them that they’re not being like what’s this guy doing? Here’s hoping, but there might be one or two people that are like, what’s happening there? I doubt it though.
Ocho: Yeah, you don’t really know. I don’t know how you would, unless someone told you or whatever.
David: And it’s not like I can snap super loud. And so it’s not like someone’s gonna hear my snapping and be like “that’s not a clap. What’s happening there?” You know.
Ocho: You want to snap our fingers?
David: Yeah, I guess we can.
[arhythmic finger snapping]
David: Yeah, that’s not going to like drown out of clap. It just isn’t.
Ocho: Yeah there’s differences too, because I notice, having been performing on stage for some decades, that, in this time and place, that applause is harder to get than it used to be. It used to be that I’d be at a Coffee shop and I’d play acoustic guitar and people would be very quiet and then when I was done playing a song, sort of regardless of what happened people would clap. They might no even look up or whatever. They might be on their laptop reading a book, or like, having a conversation, whatever, and they would still keep talking, but they would clap, you know. So like now when I’m at a performance sometimes it’s on me to be the only one clapping or the one to start it to be like, “yo, this is a norm, and we’re following this, and I’m just gonna be out front and do it. I find of don’t care if you join me but…
David: “I’m hoping that you do…”
Ocho: I hope you do. And I believe in this. And I’m making a statement. And I clap loudly. I’m not trying to clap as loud as I can, but I have a good technique that makes a sound. It isn’t like a quiet polite thing where I’m not trying to let anyone know that I’m clapping. I’m clapping when I’m clapping. So I wonder, where do you stand on that? Would you be one to initiate some applause or nah?
David: Ah, probably not. If for no other reason that I’m like, in that case I guess I’m probably like in the audience if I’m on stage, then like…
Ocho: Yeah, I’m talking about in the audience.
David: Probably not. Like I think it’s cool and very cinematic to be the slow clap that starts the round of applause that actually happens, and there is still a small part of me that’s like, I want to be that person and the someone always beats me to it. [both laugh] And I’m like, God, you over there you’re an early clapper and like, if I’m not going to get that, then probably I’m just not going to clap at all.
Ocho: Yeah, you need to have the payoff…
David: Right? Like if I can’t be…It’s just the movie everything. Like, every time, something climactic is happening…
Ocho: Like, tf it’s silent and no one’s clapping are you probably just not going to then?
David: Oh, probably not
Ocho: Even if you really kind of enjoy what’s going on
David: I might like Snap still though. But I don’t think anyone’s gonna hear that. Like it’s not going to start the…
Ocho: They might I mean if it’s quiet? If you’re in a quiet room and like
David: It might work out…And honestly I can’t say I’ve ever been in like that exact exact situation. But I have noticed like what you’re talking about is like a trend of like, people just don’t seem to be engaged in the same way and I think that’s also an unfortunate thing too so, like, You know maybe we fix that, but I don’t really know how to do that. Maybe your way is the best way? Just like, alright. You know what? We know how to do this. Let’s go.
I’m also kind of in a vacuum, as well in a lot of that stuff because like I play, open mic nights which, everyone there is pretty much supportive because you’re not just going to have a seceond open mic night if everyone there’s just being a burden and then the second week no one shows up because everyone was really just terrible. So like I think that audience is probably like just slightly different. And then like my only other experience playing music is really with you, in a pretty well-established band. And so like that’s probably the easiest atmosphere to kind of come up. And so I’m like, oh, I dunno everything seems pretty chill. Like most of the time. Like most of the time when we play, our audiences are pretty into it. Especially like New Ulm and Stuff like that. I comment on New Ulm all the time they’re fantastic.
Ocho: There is a thing too that, probably, I want more attention and I also like as a front man, I feel like I am trying to get it. You know what I mean? So, it’s like
David: And that’s fair because I think like my personality and like, my attitude toward this changes, because I sing a couple of songs in our sets. And I think if I’m singing and like, I’m stepping into the role of front person. Oh yeah. Whole different vibe. Like now, give me, give me, give me. Whereas like if I’m like on drum then it’s like oh, I’m back here. It’s cool; I’m a part of the ensemble. And there’s definitely a part of me that’s like ah, man, I’m singing to use two songs? I’mma just stay here. This is a fantastic.
Ocho: Yeah, it seems like Higher just a higher level of excitement. I guess. Because I’ve definitely been a drummer too, and it’s pretty laid back. Like, yeah, especially, you’re in the back of the stage and you’re behind something big
David: I’m usually obstructed by something or another?
Ocho: I mean, if you’re playing a drum kit, you’re in the back of the stage, behind a bunch of furniture sitting down, like you don’t feel like the audience like you do if you’re up front. You can smell people’s breath and stuff and, you know, maybe not an individuals breath…
David: Yeah, you’re getting the waft…
Ocho: Yeah, people’s bodies and stuff like yeah. Sometimes you can hear what people are saying to each other up front and stuff like that. Like, it’s way different.
David: Yeah, I just got the waft of the guy that keeps driving past when we play downtown. It reeks.
Ocho: Is that the same guy?
David: I don’t know. But it’s happened twice now. So I’m assuming it might be and it’s so strong.
Ocho: Yeah. I think we’ve probably talked about what we set out to.
David: Yeah I think so.
Ocho: Unless you have other things you want to say about it. No
David: Not really. I’m just not into it.
Ocho: Well, it’s been enlightening. I’m delighted to have you on.
Ocho: Thank you all for listening, as well. If you like what you hear, please take a moment to visit ko-fi.com/ocho you can make a donation in any amount there, it would help a lot. It will also give you access to exclusive digital content including bonus episodes and original music. You can find the find the website right in the episode description. ko-fi.com/ocho
Thanks for listening to I Don’t Do That. I’m Ocho, your host, chief engineer and producer. I also composed and performed the theme song. Background music in today’s episode performed by Tyler Watson. Shout out to canvasrebel.com for the press, and to our sponsor Anders with PrimeTime Web. Thanks again to David, today’s guest.
[song] “I Don’t Do That…”
David (sampled): Right. Yeah, I’m not into it.
Ocho: Hey, do you have an interesting, heartfelt, or entertaining story about something you don’t do? If you’d like to be a guest on I Don’t Do That, please visit ochotunes.com/guest to apply to be a guest on our show.
We share our stories to celebrate the diversity of human experience. My name is Ocho and I’ll talk to you again. If I’m lucky.