I crane my head, looking over the castle walls, across the battlements, and my eyes fall directly upon my fated adversary—Charlie. Immediately I load the cannon, gaze over the parapet, and BOOM! But within seconds the fierce warrior retaliates, raining arrows on my stronghold. This violent exchange continues for minutes, before being interrupted by a noisy beeping sound, followed by the loudspeaker voice: “Willy Jackson to the attendance office, Willy Jackson to the attendance office.” Finally I remember—this is band class, my castle is a marimba with two dustcovers draped over it, my cannon an empty mellophone case, and Charlie’s weapon of choice a bass guitar turned on its side and fired when the director isn’t looking. And lastly, I remember that this pretend battle is taking place during my senior year of high school.
It was only two weeks ago that my friend and I discovered the dual purpose of percussion instruments—sure, they can make cool music, but they also make for awesome forts. The past two weeks alone have given birth to Fort Timpani and Castle Marimba, and—God-willing—the future will see further developments, such as Bass Drum Hut. But these imaginary fortresses are more than just an escape from the stereotypical band banter about tonality and preferred types of Mucinex—they are a repudiation of the stuffy normality of life, in turn for an embrace of its creative reality.
I believe in defying the status quo. I believe in acting like a fourth grader as a senior in high school, not because I like to be obnoxious but because not even the most stuck-up proponent of “properness” or “civility” can destroy the fort-loving kid inside me.
I believe in questioning the norm—even if it is in the most random way possible, such as “why kill two birds with one stone when you can kill two birds with one bird?”
I believe in formulating bizarre, outlandish musings that normality would have no use for, such as, “how is it that there is both a ‘vem’ in November and ‘No vem’ in November?”, or “Is the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ worth 0.007 pictures?”
I believe in odd, nonsensical comments. I believe in funny voices. In dancing in Target parking lots. In wearing masks to public places and having loud, obnoxious conversations about literature in British accents. I believe in asking for plywood at restaurant drive thrus, in coloring outside the lines, in staying up all night with my brother to think of elevator pranks. I believe in weirdness, because life is not a collection of external events and influences. Life is the time a soul is given to thrive ungoverned by anything but itself.
People may try to box me in, to make me a “normal” person or a “normal” high schooler. What they fail to realize is this: it’s them against the forces of Castle Marimba, and, well—we have a cannon.
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