Skip to main content

Counting out of rhythm is like fingernails on a blackboard to me

Some things just bother the heck out of me. Right up there with global thermonuclear war and bumper-to-bumper traffic has gotta be counting out of rhythm. I don't know why it bothers me so much, but I have an almost visceral reaction to it.

The worst offenders for me are large sporting events. At some point, there is always an audience clap-along with a song. For some unbeknownst reason, large crowds will inevitably speed up to faster than the actual rhythm, falling into a vicious feedback cycle that pushes them more and more off-beat. It's a curious phenomenon, because wisdom of the crowds says that they should average out to the actual beat.

In any case, eventually they fall so far off that they either lose an entire beat, or the arrow of time has mercy on their poor out-of-rhythm collective consciousness and shifts forward, allowing them to perfectly align with just one beat before again jumping ahead of the rhythm. I'm usually the lone holdout, clapping along to the actual rhythm while people give me the "are you retarded?" look.

Sometimes I think that I'm the one without a sense of rhythm, since the majority stays together. But then I look at the majority - the average intelligence, average weight, average musical ability, average everything - and realize that I'd rather be an outlier. All I get for staying on beat are dirty looks? I can live with that.


Popular posts from this blog

Why Korean Is Hard For Native English Speakers

A couple of days ago, as an experiment, I wrote my first blog post ever in a non-English language. It was an attempt to explain some of the reasons that Korean is hard to learn for native English speakers, so I figured I might as well try to write it in Korean. Those of you who actually read Korean can see how awkward the attempt was =).

In any case, the post came from an email conversation I had with The Korean from Ask a Korean, a fantastically well-written blog about all things Korea from the perspective of a Korean who moved to the United States during high school. Since I tend to geek out on language things, I figured I might as well post part of that conversation. An edited version follows.


Out of the languages that I've attempted to learn so far, Korean has been the hardest. I've done a lot of meta thinking about learning Korean, and I think there are a number of reasons it's difficult for non-Koreans (and especially Westerners) to learn:

1) Obviously, the…

Stuttering in Korea

I had given up on English. It's my native language, but I figured after 30 some-odd years of disfluent speech, it was time to try something else. So I signed up for language classes in Korean, rationalizing that if I was going to try to teach myself how to speak, I might as well learn a new language along the way.

This might seem completely insane, but when the prevailing theme of your conscious thoughts for multiple decades is some variant of "Why can't I say what I want to say?", you come up with lots of crazy ideas.

For background, I've been a person who stutters for my entire life. I wrote about it on this blog a few years ago, so I think it's time for a followup. I've learned a lot since then, about myself and about stuttering, but in this post I simply want to give some insight into what it's actually like to stutter, and how my speech has changed over time.

After the last stuttering post, the predominant reaction I got from friends was either &…

The King's Speech (and me)

Tonight, I finally gathered the courage to watch The King's Speech. Why did I need courage to watch a movie, you might ask? The reason is both simple and intricately complex:

I'm a stutterer (Edit: person who stutters; "stutterer" is not who I am, but something that I do from time to time), and I have been for as long as I remember.

Well, there it is - I've said it. To be fair, I actually don't remember stuttering when I was little. My first very distinct memory of stuttering was sometime in seventh grade, when I had trouble saying "nosotros" (we/us) in Spanish class. But I also remember knowing I was going to have trouble saying it, because we were going around the room, and I counted ahead to see what I was going to have to say. Which means by that point I was already stuttering. When did it start? That's a question for another day.

So why am I publicizing this fact now? First, I'm in the midst of a lifelong attempt to "cure" my …