The Sound of…Silence? by Mak Taylor


They hoisted the prisoner from his prone position where he had just undergone water boarding, and although he was still choking and gasping for breath, he refused to crack.  “Looks like we are going to have to initiate phase II” the lead interrogator hissed.  “But Sir,” replied the nervous Sergeant “no one has ever survived phase II.”  “You heard me,” cracked the lead interrogator “bring in the five year olds!”

Having survived several years on the force, I am conditioned to withstand tense situations and calmly handle crisis’ better than most, but put me in a room filled with 4, 5, or 6 year-olds, and I tend to fold quicker than a pair of deuces in a card game.  I am not sure if it is the shrillness of their voices – which is akin to jagged nails on a chalkboard, or their incessant, nonstop, never ending, God put me out of my misery, barrage of questions, ramblings, and off-key singing! 

Nonetheless, when I had the opportunity to fly home early ahead of my family from an out-of-state family reunion, I jumped at the chance – being quite careful of course as to not “tip my hand” to my wife (which would have resulted in HER flying home early and leaving me to drive home with the kids!).  Anxiously I said my goodbyes, (even conjuring up a “tear” or two in order to add to the “authenticity” of my ruse) and boarded the plane. 

I quickly found my seat, and settled down for what I thought would be a 4-hour nap.  Not more than 10 minutes into the flight I was jolted awake – it felt as if the plane was going to crash!  The only thing keeping me from bolting out of my seat was the lap restraint which I had not unbuckled.  Eyes wide, it took me a few seconds to realize that the plane was in fact not crashing, but rather my slumber had been interrupted by a “Dennis the Menace” from hell type lad of about six years.  Giving me a “Satan’s spawn” of a smirk, I besieged the adults (and I use that term loosely) that were accompanying this future felon, if they could please have their little darling refrain from severing my spine with his P.F. Flyers.  “Is he really hurting you?” responded the female from which this vile little creature obviously gnawed his way out of.  By now I have two flight attendants at my side.  Glaring indignantly at me, one of them spats “This is a long flight sir, we would appreciate it if would stop being so disruptive.”  As my blood pressure raised off of the chart, I quickly assessed the situation and reviewed my options: 1. I could grab the little beast, rush to an emergency exit, pop open the door, and free all of humanity of this little pariah and undoubtedly, get sucked out of the plane myself in the process; or 2. Continue pleading my case, which would of course turn ugly, which in turn would cause the Federal Air Marshal (who was now walking down the aisle toward me) to physically restrain me, causing the pilot to make an emergency landing escorted by two F-15’s, which would ultimately result in me being locked up indefinitely in Federal penitentiary under the terrorism act.  So biting my tongue nearly in half and swallowing a large portion of my pride, I returned to my seat – enduring the dislodging of my kidneys for the next 3 hours and 38 minutes.

 Upon deplaning at my home terminal, I quickly hailed a taxi, tossed my bags in the trunk and climbed into the back seat.  The 10 minute $48.00 ride home in this rolling gas chamber (both petro and driver fumes) was a welcome respite compared to my previous mode of transportation.  After paying the cabby (whose name one could only pronounce if they had their tongue removed) I carted my bags inside – home at last! 

YES, I thought as I relaxed on the couch with my feet inappropriately propped up on the coffee table (something I would never get away with if my wife were home), peace and quiet!  That night I ate hot dogs, and popcorn and had a couple of beers while watching the Padres game.  I awoke the next morning, having fallen asleep on the couch, got dressed and went off to work, the whole day thinking of how I was going to have another restful night when I got home. 

It was indeed quiet when I got home, but something was missing that I didn’t immediately identify.  That night I ate another meal of “garbage” as my wife calls it, and watched my Seinfeld DVDs (a show my wife absolutely hates).  Finally getting to bed, I had a restless night’s sleep – even though I had the King sized bed all to myself.  Again I arose the next morning and again I went off to work, but this time I was not looking forward to getting home that evening.  When I did walk through the backdoor into the kitchen later that afternoon, it struck me – I knew what was wrong!  I missed my wife and kids, and all of the noise and chaos that goes with it! 

For the next few days I moped around the house until finally, at last my little “noise makers” returned home bringing with them their cacophonous chaos I had missed. 

Some people say “silence is golden,” and “children should be seen and not heard.”  I tend to think that we should enjoy the noise while we can because all too quickly their small voices are grown.  Embrace the noise – noise is LIFE!


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