Stylized line drawing of mark playing the flute

Acts of rebellion

I decided to run away when I was 4. I was mad at my mom so I packed a little snack and toys into a backpack. Of course, I wasn't allowed to leave by myself so I just ran away to the backyard. It was short-lived.

In elementary school, they had a little store at Christmas called Santas Workshop where all of the kids could go an buy little presents for their parents. That year, I bought my dad a set of small screwdrivers. I got mad at him (I can't remember what it was) and told him I was taking back his present. In the end, I felt too bad about it and gave it to him anyway.

We had to pick a foreign language going into middle school, Spanish or French. My parents thought I should take Spanish but I thought French would be more romantic so I put down French on the form. My parents were confused when my schedule came showing me in the French class. I didn't say anything about it and they called the school and switched me back to Spanish.

My Freshman-year World Geography and Health teacher was one of my least favorite teachers of all time. Her class was only tolerable when we watched a movie instead of listening to her talk. So I started asking her if we were watching a movie that day. Every single day when I walked into class, I'd ask Are we watching a movie today?. That one earned me a parent-teacher conference.

Summer after my Junior year, I went to a two week writing camp at Lewis & Clark College. That many bohemian teenagers, you had to expect some rebellion. We were divided into classes and our main instructor wanted us to read The Jump-off Creek by Molly Gloss. We only wanted to read beat poets and e.e. cummings so we would write endless poems about how terrible Molly Gloss was. We slept in student lounges and each others rooms and in piles of blankets during late-night poetry readings. That culiminated with a group discussion with all of the instructors about the inappropriateness of our cohabitation. A discussion that had several people announce loudly, But no ones having sex or anything!, much to our amusement.

My friend Sean ran for principal during Student Council elections our Senior year (1994). I helped him make posters. Fight the Conformist Establishment, Vote Cecil for Your Principal, that sort of thing. I'm pretty sure that ended with another parent-teacher conference.

I got my nose pierced as a birthday present to myself. It was Freshman year of college at Lewis & Clark. My mom had always said I could do whatever I wanted with clothes and hair but I wasn't allowed to do anything permanent. Three weeks after I left home, I got a piercing. To be fair, I did do my research. I found a reputable place. I checked all of their sterilization equipment and I was shockingly thorough with my post-piercing care. I was going to have my septum pierced but I switched to just a simple side-ring after seeing the girl with the belly-button piercing pass out in the lobby.

In the grand scheme of things, all pretty minor. Enough to keep me sane, nothing major enough to ruin my life.