That one tiny click, that seemingly inconsequential drop in the bucket of background noise, when joined by 20 other tiny drops in the same bucket? IT WAS LOUD! It was REALLY something!
When I was in high school, we had a teacher, Mr. Connell. Everyone called him simply: “Mister”. It was widely rumored that he taught for $1 a year because he was independently wealthy. We all knew which house was his in our tiny neighborhood: a stately stone place with perfect hedges and an old Volkswagen station wagon in the pea-gravel driveway. Mister taught physics to seniors who were on a science track and I wanted to be a psychiatrist, so that was me. Anyway, he used to do this thing he called “the cricket cheer.” It was amazing. You can try right now, as you read these words, if you want. (In fact, please do.) Put the fingernails of your thumb and pinky finger together. Now rub one fingernail down over the other so that it makes a tiny ‘clicking’ noise. Then rub it back up. Then back down and so on and so on. You hear the tiny noise, right? It’s not so much, really. Just a teeny tiny click. Well, every time Mister made us do the cricket cheer, he would start out by having just one person do it: “MISTER Magnusson!!! Cricket cheer please!” (He had an enormous joy for living, he did.) And after the lucky soloist performed, Mister would call out (I don’t think he ever yelled, merely spoke with increased exuberance.) for everyone to start. Well, it was always so impressive. That one tiny click, that seemingly inconsequential drop in the bucket of background noise, when joined by 20 other tiny drops in the same bucket? IT WAS LOUD! It was REALLY something! Yesterday, I was interviewed by someone asking me why I had wanted to march in the Women’s March a couple weeks ago. And I thought about the cricket cheer. And how powerful tiny voices can be when they’re working together. And how, just maybe, they can inspire other tiny voices to join in, to come in from the sidelines, to slide off the fence and start participating. And, I guess, even if I didn’t quite understand it all at the time, in my soul I know that’s the reason I marched. And will march again. Because the tiny voices, together, can make a big difference.
©2017 Nadine Robbins. Unauthorized use of the images and copy from these stories is prohibited.