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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…

coming clean


There are handfuls of parables floating around the world, about knowing yourself. They fit neatly on a t-shirt or a coffee mug, maybe a meme superimposed over an image of a dark pool of water with one drop in it. The question, "Can man know anything, really?" it has been reduced to a parlor trick. Post-truth, the answers are all custom-fit.

I find myself thinking of the days when we had a rotary phone, and a party line. Waiting for the neighbors to be done talking and eavesdropping a little each time I lift the receiver. The tv was black and white, small in a corner of the living room. We only got one channel, so it was either on or off. I had to be told that the Incredible Hulk was green - to me he was gray.

Waking up feeling lost has become familiar. I'm not going to live in a tree or anything, but I feel like putting distance between the fire hydrant of news bytes and the rest of the world. There is actually an entire world out there beyond screens and paranoia, past the latest tragedy and the next one. I am beginning to take comfort in the fact that I know less than I would like to. It feels good to come clean.

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