I don't blame him for not knowing how to use a computer--I mean, he's roughly a half century closer to the grave than I. But today, the school principal was acting strangely competent with his computer. Buried under headphones, unmoving behind his monitor, he refused to be interrupted all morning. Watching video. Very uncharacteristic of him indeed. Then replaying said video. Scribbling notes. Through lunch too. Over, and over again.
He finally broke concentration and visited my desk early this afternoon with several well-worn sheets of paper in hand. Quizzical expression painted over his many wrinkles, on one of the sheets he pointed out a sentence wherein the word "straight" had been underlined. Clearly confused, he said he'd never heard it used like this, and asked what it meant. I quickly scanned over the rest of the document to pick up the context, and realized I'd heard these same words only a few hours before. I smiled and told him its intention, and what it meant in such use. As the word's pivotal role in the transcript's collective meaning took hold, he stepped back from my desk, eyes locked to the paper in hand. At last he too smiled. I could see his shoulders broaden with the corners of his mouth. He knew.
I knew he knew.
I'd felt the same goosebumps, the same relief and welling of pride, only 24 hours before, when those words first took root in my ears, and the untold millions crowded around their televisions.
And that's when the true brevity of the moment hit me. Not the moment at my desk, but rather this moment in history. This moment when words have not only the power to inspire, and instill a long-awaited sense of reassurance and hope, but also the power to transcend even the cultures and linguistic boundaries that would otherwise restrain them.
As Mr. Suzuki walked away from my desk, he kept repeating it. Savoring it between his tongue.
Carefully ruminating in the only broken, Japanenglish tongue he knew.
"...Yes. We. Can..."
Great goddamn. Take your party lines and date lines, and shove 'em.
Someday, I'll tell my kids about this.
um CNN, you missed one