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a peaceful protest

I was 16, and the thought of being forced to mention God as part of the pledge of allegiance was too hypocritical an act for me to play along with. Each day of high school began with this mundane recitation, as most people just stood with their hand jutting from a hip, the other dangling across their chest as they counted out the seconds until they could sit back down. They leaned against desks, and talked through it about what party and where it would be, if there would be a keg or a bonfire in the woods. I recited the words, omitting the "under God" part as a sort of half-baked protest. I was raised to flaunt my family's ramshackle atheism, as a choice of smug pride. We knew better, was the prevailing logic.

But one day, I could not stand and say any of it. It felt so rote, so hollow, so devoid of choice. There was no law that said I was required to say it. I knew this was my right, a form of free speech. My homeroom teacher was a legendary drinker, a trash-talking re…

things you think of when traveling


I would like to fall asleep listening to rain. I would like to have a great Thai takeout place to walk to. I would like to be 20 pounds lighter. I would like to be able to play a good B chord. I would like a pair of orange wingtips. Sometimes I would like to have wild locks of hair like I used to. Sometimes I think about how long it takes me to write a book, and if there is any way around that. Sometimes I forget to close the refrigerator. Sometimes I think about this electronics department in a local store I used to visit when I was a boy, staring at the cassette decks and the turntables. Sometimes I think about deer season and the dead animals tied to roofs and hoods with twists of rope, their expressions stiff all looking terrified.

I have a good watch now. I have a new guitar. I have work. I have a new striped sweater that looks like one of N's and I made her laugh when I wore it for the first time. I bought E a film camera for her birthday and she named it Marv. I bought V a Moana doll and she talks to it, as if is real.







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