The Athenaeum
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The Athenaeum

5 NT = The Clap

Everybody Clap Your Hands

Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

The summer is getting long here at the Mill. By “long” I mean that certain late-summer realities have come to bear. There is more beer and white wine in the refrigerator now than there was at the start of the summer. I’m not sure how that happened. It is counter-intutive. I have been drinking more than my fair share of beer, white wine, and melted ice cream, as my glucometer can attest (it currently reads ‘riot’), but the “stash” in the refrigerator just keeps getting bigger.

I found out what is happening. When you tell guests, “you don’t need to bring anything,” they bring beer, white wine, or ice cream. Sometimes they bring bread or salad, but bread and salad get thrown out if they aren’t eaten quickly. Beer, wine, and ice cream abide.

I am sated by summer. I’m not saying I want it to end, but we are at the point in the calendar where I have a belly full of cheese. I don’t need to eat more fresh fruit. I’ve had a lot of clams.

More significant is the fact that the milkweed has all flowered. The crickets are starting to get large. Some of the swallowtails are beat up, their wings, though still functional, are broken and battered. There are no new bird’s nests.

Black-Eyed Susan and Goldenrod hold the day in the fields. The sunflowers are in full vigor. It is time, unfortunately, to start thinking about the September Solstice.

When I went into the office this afternoon Claire, the clerk, was playing what I thought was music from her phone. It soon became clear that she was playing a remix of the “Everybody clap your hands” section of the Cha-Cha Slide. She and Pee Wee were clapping together. Like this:

“Oh, no,” I said, “Not another post about clapping on Medium. Let me add that to the list of things with which I am sated.”

“What’s the matter, boss?” Claire asked, “Not into the clap? What is it that you say; ‘All you need for a dose of clap is a handful of goofy pills or a shot in the ass with some metal.”

Ellie Guzman made the clap joke about a week ago. I wouldn’t use it in the title of this piece.”

“You’ll have to log into the editing program and make the change yourself. I already titled this piece “The Clap”.

She and Pee Wee clapped again to the music. I noticed that Pee Wee was putting down his sudoko book to clap. Pee Wee never puts down his sudoko book. I wondered how long this clapping thing had been going on. Neither of them looked like they were in any danger of stopping.

“Do you think our Russian benefactors will like the claps?” Claire asked.

“Russians love clapping,” I said, “They like to clap in unison, and they clap for themselves.”

“We can’t clap for ourselves,” She said.

“We can’t?

I tried to clap for the post on bathrooms. I wasn’t able to give it the clap.

“Rats!” I said, “At the top of my list of things to do today was ‘give each of the 2000 articles in the back catalog 50 claps each’. What am I going to do now?”

“Do you want to play cribbage?” She asked.

“I thought you guys were going to play bridge. If you could get one of the Gretchen sisters over here, I would play bridge.”

Claire’s eyes lit up, but Pee Wee didn’t even look up from his Sudoko book.

“It’s a joke,” he said, “He doesn’t want to play bridge. He is just going to bid ‘5 NO TRUMP’ on every hand.”

“It’s true,” I said, “Especially when I’m vunderable. Remember, 5 No Trump is a forced slam.”

Pee Wee and Claire started clapping again. They were not clapping for me.




The Athenaeum of Mushamaguntic, Northern United States. A salon of refuse. The repository for the library of dreck, the archive of prose comics, and the backlist of Mr. Mildew Omnimedia and publishing, LLC.

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Tribune of Medium. Mayor Emeritus of LiveJournal. Third Pharaoh of the Elusive Order of St. John the Dwarf. I am to Medium what bratwurst is to food.

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