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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Economic Crisis Forces Reduction in Minute of Silence

The completely empty gesture of sympathy formerly known as the ''Minute of Silence'' has been officially reduced to 30 seconds because of the looming economic crisis in the country. The announcement was made at a press conference in New York City by the head of the Federal Reserve Bank, Ben S. Bernanke. ''We are facing high unemployment, rising prices, and slow economic growth. Do we look like a nation that needs to be wasting a minute of silence every time there is an untimely death of a celebrity in the world? Maybe they all need to be more careful so we can get on with the business of making a living. See those instructions on that bottle of pills? Try reading them. Car being chased by paparazzi? Tough shit, deal with it. If you think annoying photographers make your life miserable, try not being famous for a few days. Believe me, it's not all it's cracked up to be.'' the chairman said. ''If we all stood around for a minute with our fingers up our asses every time someone famous died, our thumbs would fucking hatch.''

The Federal Reserve considered a plan to link the time of silent prayer to the value of the dollar in overseas markets. ''We thought of that plan a couple of years ago when the dollar was relatively stable. Luckily we didn't go through with it, considering that the dollar has since gone into the toilet,'' Bernanke said. ''Maybe we'll use the euro as our guide or the price of a barrel of crude oil. You don't see the Chinese standing idly by praying in this global economy. They are probably trying to buy the copyright on a 'minute of silence' or manufacturing some sort of gizmo that does a silent prayer on your MP3 player.''

The move was roundly criticized by religious leaders who feel that it discounts the importance of prayer in daily life. ''Prayer, are you serious?'' the chairman scoffed, ''We all know that almost no one was praying during that minute and certainly not for the entire 60 seconds. Most people said some lame-ass prayer and then spent the next 55 seconds thinking about how they should probably cut down on their drinking, or staring at some woman's chest, or both. Whenever I get stuck doing a minute of silence I like to say the alphabet backwards for practice, just in case I ever have to do a field sobriety test. Sometimes I get busted actually saying it out loud. Oops, sorry about that but we all got to die sooner or later.''

The announcement was welcomed by American atheists. Tom Logan, president of the Godless Coalition, said that shortening the minute of silence to half a minute was half right but the reduction should be taken another 30 seconds further. ''Zero seconds of silence to honor the dead seems about right,'' Logan said. ''This comes at a good time for me, personally. I was getting really sick of people asking me—an atheist—to bow my head and pray. That would be like force-feeding a vegetarian a Big Mac. While we're at it why don't we all bow our heads and consider astrology. I swear, if someone says I have to do a minute of prayer one more time I am going to climb up on a tower with a deer rifle and I'm not coming down until I'm a household name.''

The president of the Godless Coalition continued his rant, ''A minute of prayer represents 1/1440 of the day, hardly a block of time that would impress a god even if there were such a thing. Just think about it. A whole minute of prayer to honor the genocide in Armenia or Rwanda? Wow people, do you think you can spare that much time away from your video games, reality TV, and Pilates classes?'' Mr. Logan was told ''point taken'' and was asked to please stop talking.

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