birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


In my junior year of high school, the cool government teacher encouraged me to run for Associated Student Body president. I was flattered, so I said yes. I immediately had second thoughts and went to the teacher's classroom during lunch to back out. "You can't back out," he said wearily. "You're running unopposed." So, I ran.

This meant I had to make campaign speeches at two different assemblies. I was probably uninspiring, but enough people voted for me than not, so I won the seat.

Almost immediately, I realized that it was just a sham, that the president had no real power. Student government got to organize dances and that was about it. I was less than thrilled. So I let my vice president, a guy named "Chip," handle those duties.

I also had to lead the school in the pledge of allegiance at assemblies. Our school always held two assemblies because we had such a large population. During the first assembly, I stayed silent during the "under God" portion. Not only did I feel ridiculous talking to a piece of cloth and pledging my allegiance to it, but if I didn't believe in God, why on Earth would I say "under God?"

Principal Caputo, an elegant man with a deep reverence for appearance, took me aside between the two assemblies. "Next time, please say 'under God,' you're throwing off everyone's rhythm," he whispered.

At the next assembly, I said it out loud.

At our last meeting of the year, we decided to donate our leftover money from our budget to a school in Haiti. We sent the request to the principal's office.

During the leadership class that all of us in student government had to take (we got nothing done, just hung out doing our homework), the classroom phone rang. It was the principal. "I just received your budget. Are you sure you want to donate the remaining money to Haiti?"

I told him that, yes, we did.

"Okay," he said.

I've Carried This Too Far...

What Have I Gotten Myself Into