Round of Applause

Every year for Christmas or his birthday, my partner has asked for that popular contraption that controls electricity with the sound of clapping; its commercial was made famous by a furious looking old lady who couldn’t sleep until she’d turned off her light by hurling herself into a sitting position and fervently clapping. I rolled my eyes at him in disbelief. “We are capable of turning off a lamp or the television without the aid of a clapping device.” He simply smiled, amused by the idea like a child amused by a slinky. This year a well-meaning family member acquiesced to his desire….and now, I can’t turn on the lamp in my bedroom.

On most days my tender hands don’t have the strength to produce the force required to control this reverberating device; objects slip from my non-existent grip; doorknobs laugh when I try to turn them; all the simple things we take for granted evaporate in the wake of old lady RA’s hold on my joints. My hands have their good days and their bad days, but since this new electronic toy found its way into our home, more often than not, I am incapable of emulating the right level of clapping required to turn on my lamp. My tiny hands have never been able to produce an adequate volume while clapping, even in the days before arthritis. For several nights, while my partner was at work, I stood in the darkness of our bedroom, clapping like a madwoman, which resulted in enflamed hands throbbing in the wake of a one person standing ovation.

And so, while my partner has his fun clapping the light on and off, I curse this infuriating invention, while at the same time envying its effectiveness for most of the population. I am unable to appreciate its purpose due to my own shortcomings.

Wait a minute…is that the socket that supplies its vile power….let there be light…

No Comments

  1. carlascorner on February 10, 2014 at 5:56 am

    I’ve always said that it’s not the big things, it’s the little things in life that make the most difference. I can’t imagine how frustrating this has been, but I hope I’m laughing with you instead of at you. Thanks for a light-hearted (but totally serious) look at the daily challenges we face.

    • J.G. Chayko on February 11, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      I always try to find the ridiculous in my disease; it helps me get through the bad days. 🙂

  2. Wren on February 10, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Oh, what a pain in the … hands!
    At least you can unplug the thing and turn lights, ect. on the old-fashioned way! 😉

    • J.G. Chayko on February 11, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      Oh, I was so happy to unplug the darn thing… even to the threat that it might get hooked up somewhere else. Seriously, though, my partner is very considerate of my plight. He likes to have his fun, and he deserves it. 🙂

  3. Kev on February 11, 2014 at 4:09 am

    lmao…it’s a typical boys will be boys story. 😀

    • J.G. Chayko on February 11, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      Oh the stories I could tell… what am I saying, you’ve probably heard them from your own partner 🙂

      • Kev on February 12, 2014 at 4:39 am


  4. P Frame on February 15, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Another great story. The sun could hardly be seen through the heavy snow this week and I went out walking in feet of snow and inches of slush to fish and not catch much, but at least I got out there. I couldn’t clap now if I tried.
    Thank you for the fun read.
    Phil in NY

    • J.G. Chayko on February 15, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Thank-you. Brave of you to fish in that weather :). Hope the snow isn’t causing too much havoc.

  5. Irma on February 19, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    My first thought was, but clapping will hurt your hands. Seems so simple, but so difficult to do with hurting hands. At least you can pull the plug!

    • J.G. Chayko on February 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Lol – I knew if he got this thing, I was going to have difficulty. It’s hard enough to clap for a show – I usually imitate the motion without making a sound 😉

  6. Alison Main-Tourneur on February 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    This is one of my favourite Old Lady blogs. The imagery is amazing! It must feel ridiculous to be clapping in your home for a light to switch on or off. You deserve the standing ovation. 🙂

    • J.G. Chayko on February 24, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      Thanks Alison. It was ridiculous me standing there trying to turn on my own light. I’m happy to be able to see the humour in it all 🙂 Hugs.

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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.