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Entry date: 12-7-2023 – Pearls Before Swindle – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


Last year at this time I was on part 3 of my Televerde story. That was the company I worked for that was based primarily out of the women’s prison at Perryville. It’s weird that I was writing about it last year at the same time because I have been thinking about it a lot lately.


Maybe it is because 11 years ago right now I had given my two-week notice. Maybe it’s just because every once in a while, it hits me like an orange wave that I worked in a prison for almost five years. Either way, it’s been on my mind.


There are some reasons, close to home, that I have been thinking about prison. It’s not my story to tell and I’m going no further than that, except to say that I’m not in danger of going to prison (that I know of, but “hello” President Trump! Please don’t put me into one of your “work” camps when you get re-elected.) Someone I care about, though, has been making some terrible choices for a long time and the piper needs to be paid.


Prison sucks.


Even when you know you get to go home to the regular world at the end of the day, prison sucks. You are cut off from the outside world, as a non-prisoner, so imagine what it would be like to live there. There is no privacy. That would kill me. I need my quiet time to be alone.


People who think prison is a joke entertain the fuck out of me. It’s a society in there. There is a culture. There are rules written by the state and rules written by the people who have either lived there the longest or are the biggest and baddest. You broke the rules, now you get more.


There are people who make it look like they are “good” at doing time, but it’s a lie. The best day there is still a day where someone tells you where to eat, sleep, shit, and breathe. Where someone looks at you as if you are the biggest turd they have ever seen and they want to step over you and keep walking because you are scum. They don’t want to get a piece of you on their shoe.


No one who has been there would call it a joke or easy or home.


Monotony would beat me down, I think, too. I like patterns a lot. I like rituals. I like feeling like I have my routine, but I also like that I can fuck all those things up with fun when I want to do so. It’s worth it for fun and love and those tiny tastes of freedom that a little pocket money or creativity or willingness to put yourself out there can afford.


When I worked at the prison, I saw inmates who were living for their jobs. They loved getting to talk to people on the outside and pretend to be just like everyone else for 8 hours a day. I like my job a lot. I love aspects of it, too. I don’t live for it. I live for the stuff it allows me to do.


That’s the way it should be. Someday, I will earn my living by slinging these words around and maybe then I will feel a bit more like I love my job with my whole heart. Now, though, I love and like my job and sometimes hate it a little, too. Sometimes I wonder, why the fuck do I do this? I could make more money doing a lot of other things.


I guess what I was getting at is that even life on the outside of a prison can feel a little bit like jail sometimes, although it is really nothing like it at all. There is a lot to be said for (even the illusion of) free will. Stay out of jail, my friends. You can thank me later.


*****


See you tomorrow.



This shot has nothing to do with prison. I should make this my second edition of the picture story time or whatever I called it.

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