Rows of bassinets line walls of hospital nurseries.

Rows of preschoolers march to mesmerizing drumbeats.

Rows of sixth graders fidget during standardized tests in Math.

Rows of Juniors pale over Scholastic Aptitude Tests.

Rows of debutantes, in brilliant whites, preen in the eyes of their escorts.

Rows of IT Specialists stuff chronic body pain within 60-hour work weeks.

Rows of the newly laid-off wait for their names to be called.

Rows of oiled sprinters yearn for the sound of the gun.

Rows of skimpily-clad enthusiasts pump stationery bikes in the “Cycling Theater.”

Rows of perspiring baseball fans text, drink, kibitz, and wait for a hit.

Rows of worshippers, smartly dressed, hope for the Sunday fix.

Rows of travelers shuffle through the TSA blue-shirted security.

Rows of shoppers examine their fingernails in checkout lines.

Rows of homeless wait in front of Plexiglas nurses’ stations for their psyche medications.

Rows of patients dog-ear health care magazines in doctors’ waiting rooms.

Rows of seniors, secured in geriatric chairs, wait for their next feeding.

Rows of mourners rant at the absurdity of life.

Rows of marble headstones demarcate graves of the mighty and lowly.


Why do we accept such marshaling in neat rows, from birth to death, crimping the fullest expression of instinctual life? Who makes such decisions anyway? Seems like they’ve always been in place – a need to superimpose order upon the disorderly, control over the uncontrollable? Might there be a hidden agenda?

To me, this practice seems like a failure in imagination, a subtle evil that undermines spirit, a blatant disregard of soul. It takes courage to step out of the row, as there are consequences. Happily for all of us, some still do.