The Legend of the DC Applause

Simeon Michelson and Chandler Baker

Present day. A wave of applause and cheers overwhelms the students in the DC. Questions circle: “Why are we clapping?” “Did someone propose?” “Why would someone propose in the DC?” The answers lie in something far more mysterious: the legend of the DC applause.

February 29, 1960. Thunderous applause. Deafening. Earsplitting. Nathan “Choral” Carlin was no stranger to the cheers of the crowd. He spent his high school days gracing the stage with his beautiful baritone — charming audiences with his arias, recitatives and yodeling. He played prestigious roles such as Pool Boy 2 (Baritone) in “Baywatch the Musical,” Revolver Sound Effect in “Hamilton,” and the Fiddler’s Fiddle from “Fiddler on the Roof.” The cheers of the crowd faded away and a chill gust of wind snapped Nathan back to reality. 

There he stood, atop Mount Whitney in the midst of the Sierras. He knew he’d soon have to face the sinister smile of Dr. Michael Shasberger. So, in order to prepare for his rigorous choir audition, Nathan trekked to the top of the Sierras to practice his audition piece, “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” As he warmed himself up with a few brief “lay-ee-odl-lay-ee-odl-oos” in the key of F-flat minor, his all-powerful voice reverberated across the mountaintops. As his transcendent bellows rang out, the firmament shook and the sky rattled. A trumpet sounded, and Mount Whitney rumbled beneath his feet. The horizon darkened and Nathan’s vision blurred in a cloud of dust and rock. He fell into a deep, deep sleep.

Squeak! The next sound Nathan heard was a high-pitched whine. Squeak! Squeak! He looked down the mountain and far, far, below he saw a red blur racing towards him. Try as he might, Nathan could not track the speeding shadow as it ascended the mountain. Screech! Within three seconds, the flash easily ascended the sheer 10,000-foot cliff. When the dust cleared and the furious pedaling ceased, Nathan saw … who? Who else but Jacob “the Bullet” Bailey mounted upon a Radio Flyer 10” Classic Red Tricycle, wiping a single bead of sweat from his forehead. 

Jacob, unshaken by the rocky ascent, spoke first. “Do you want to be roommates?”

“I guess,” Nathan replied.

“Hop on,” Jacob commanded. Nathan clambered aboard, whistling in harmony with the electrical hum of the bike. Wings sprouted from Jacob’s tricycle and they flew off to the sunny climes of Westmont College. 

That day, through song and speed, the two forged an eternal bond. Nathan — rescued from the mountains by Jacob — and Jacob, called to the mountain by Nathan, became the best of roommates. As they concluded their ethereal journey, Jacob deftly piloted his tricycle onto Deane Lawn. He gingerly led Nathan into the music hall, where Shasberger had been waiting the whole time. Nathan sang his heart out that day, filling his audition with the pathos that only a mountaintop experience could evoke. When he finished, Shasberger rose to his feet to applaud, but Nathan stopped him.

“Wait, wait,” he said. “Your applause doesn’t belong to just me.”

Dr. Shasberger asked, “Who else could possibly deserve to share in your achievement?”

“Only one man,” Nathan proclaimed. “It’s my roommate, Jacob Bailey!” Ever since that day, whenever Nathan sees Jacob, he cannot help but shout this truth to the mountaintops, longing to share with Jacob the applause that the crowds once gave only to him. 

The legend lives on, as echoes of that momentous proclamation reverberate past the Montecito mountains and into the DC. So, if you are ever lucky enough to bear witness, do not hesitate to join in the applause.

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