Shatter Glass Ceilings

March 5, 2011
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Now can we please have a moment of silence.
Tick tock…

As the loudspeaker crackling ceases and sound in the classroom is extinguished like a birthday candle, I realize quickly that there are certain things one ought to be thinking about during a moment of silence. Mainly, the dead. Twenty people injured in the Arizona shooting last Saturday, six of them killed, and the only victim’s name anyone knows is Gabrielle Giffords. A Congresswoman. She’s not dead. A nine-year-old girl is, but no one even knows her name.

But, during this mandatory moment of biting one’s tongue, my brain can’t focus on the thoughts impressed upon us. Rather, my choir music begins trumpeting loudly, incessantly in my head. It’s the Hallelujah Chorus. “For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth…”

Tick tock…
I wonder how many seconds have passed in this moment so far, how many even constitute a moment in the first place. Is a moment a concrete unit of time, like a minute or a year? Or is it simply the number of tick tocks it takes for something, anything to become different? In that case, all it takes to initiate a new moment is to pull the trigger.

“King of Kings, and Lord of Lords...”

Perhaps a moment starts when a heart stops. Cardiac arrest. A heart attack. Mrs. Carter’s husband had a heart attack on Christmas Day. He died.

Tick tock…

I don’t even know his name.

Mrs. Carter returned to teaching today. I expected fatigue to be grafittied with black spray-paint on her forehead, for her face to look like a sigh, for her eyes to be two hollowed out melon rinds without a sliver of fruit left behind. But she appeared normal, acted entirely normal despite the entirely abnormal offering of flowers crouching latent on her desk. Normalcy is a frightening façade. Injuries always leave scars, and as the clock

Tick tock…

I can envision

Tick tock…

the platelets rushing to her


limbic system.


We all acted normal too, but our platelets are rushing to our vocal chords.

Death is the blanket softly smothering our voices, the dead battery in our microphones, the muffler curtailing the trucks of our screams. We honor all dead the same way: by staying silent. The only difference is whether we consider the death significant enough to pretend like we’re only staying silent because it’s mandated. What does silence accomplish? We should instead be shouting our grief and revulsion and infuriation loudly enough to shatter glass ceilings.

“And He shall reign forever”

Tick tock…
“and ever.”

Anything can omnipotent reigneth forever and ever, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, if everyone simply observes enough moments of silence.


The moment of silence is now over. Thank you.


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