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6. Question and Answer

I am super excited to get questions already.  Fast for me, anyhow.  I realize it's a billion years in internet time.  Please bear with us as John has to send the questions to me and I then have to write and mail them off.  John then has to try to read my mess, transcribe it onto here, take out the garbage, go to work, ride motorcycles, send me sweet books, lift chicks by their nips.  No end to things, it's a process.  We're lucky John gets it done so expediently.

Anywho, question #1
What's the most ridiculous thing you've seen since you were incarcerated?

This is a good one, as I could fill pages with funny, crazy shit.  I was once bunkies with a guy who thought Jesus gave him the power to shoot lasers out of his eyes.  I've seen the biggest, hairiest men try to look like ladies with Kool-Aid and M&Ms.  Man did those dudes GLIDE.  More goofy crimes than I can recount, but I'll tell you about the most ridiculous introduction I have ever overheard.

While I was in quarantine waiting to catch a chain out to my permanent joint I was a porter.  I was let out of my cell from 6am to 2pm to take a broom and other cleaning supplies to the other convicts while they were locked down.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  I'm out of my cell for a while which is nice but I hate stupid people and there is no shortage here.  I want to clear up that statement by saying that I'm not an asshole, some could say I'm stupid for being here and it's true.  I'm talking about good, old dyed-in the wool stupid.  I would get questions from young guys that went like this.
"Hey, porter."
"Hey man, you think the mats gonna be comfortable in the joint we go to?"
No lie, real question.  So anyways, I'm doing my job and there are two guys outside of their cells waiting to be let back in after a call-out.  As I approach I hear them talking.  This is the part I heard, verbatim.
"Hey, man.  What's up?  You remember me from MTU?"
"Naw, man.  I haven't been to the "U" in ten years, man."
"I'm Scraw, man, remember?  I was the guy that got raped by those four dudes."
"Oh yeah, man.  I remember you.  What's been happenin'?"
"You know, not shit, back in this bitch."
That, my friends, is seriously ridiculous.  The fact that a man mentioning being raped by four dudes is not affecting either of them is the exact definition, I think.

Question #2
I'm curious to know what he did, but I'll also understand if he'd prefer not to tell.  Also, how do movies or TV (I'm thinking Shawshank Redemption / Prison Break) compare to the real thing?

Two parter, trying to catch me slipping.  I'm here because I took advantage of a dog.  I didn't get a first degree luckily but what they don't know is there was premeditation.  I knew exactly what I was doing when I got that peanut butter out of the cupboard.  No, really, I'm here on a probation violation.  I was re-sentenced to the original crime from forever ago which was a third drunk driving, driving while license suspended, and possession of a switch blade.  John will link my OTIS info on the site.  How a probation violation got me prison time is something that I will go into further when I get more into my history.

As for prison being like TV or movies, it's not.  Crazy shit does happen in prison, don't misunderstand.  Lots of crazy, unfulfilling bullshit happens here, the thing is in between those times is mind-numbing boredom.  I'm not talking about what should I do for an hour before I go to the gym boredom.  I'm talking about eight to ten hours of day-dragging, wanting someone to get stabbed just so there's some excitement.  On TV, things are always happening, something's shaking.  The reality is it could take a couple of hours waiting just to run the numbers for a football game to another unit.  The "REAL THING" is hours, days, months of waiting.  the thing is the waiting is deadly serious.  Everyone is on their toes which makes day to day living tense.  Some guys have been waiting longer than you may have, so an accidental bump or simple eye contact can break an already tight string.  People get to scrapping over literally nothing in here, it's just as easy to get stabbed because you looked at someone's tray of food too long as it is to not.  But between all this are long periods of tense quiet.  Not good TV, I guess.  I'd watch it.

Question #3
Ask him how he perceives time passing by.

I really like this question.  I don't think many people understand how relative time really is.  While Einstein's Theory of relativity is only understood by two people, and frankly one of them HAS to be lying.  Some of it can be simplified.  The passage of time, to me, seems to depend on the amount, or lack of, pleasure you're having.  I mean, say I'm just getting off work (which to for-ev-er) and my wife has told me she needs me home by 6 o'clock.  That gives me two hours to hang out with my friend, Eron, before she starts calling me to complain that 6 o'clock was 30 minutes ago.  The time spent with Eron seems to be 10x faster than the subsequent two hours of bitching I get from the wife.

When you're experiencing something pleasurable, time seems to pass much quicker than when doing something less pleasurable.  The things we find pleasurable and the space it fills are relative.  As much as I would love to go into time being cut like a loaf of bread and everyone's perception of any instant being different I won't.  I just want you to know that I could.

Prison is very unpleasurable and it drags.  It would be hard to explain it to any one individual but I'll try.  Time here passes about as fast as it does when your kid has a pants load of shit and you're 10 deep in the 15 or less scan-yourself line and everyone has 27 things.  Oh, and you're late to receive some shiny new thing you've always wanted.  You perceive everyone around you is being an asshole and dragging their feet purposely.  Dicks.

By the way, I hate those you-scan lines.  Ummmmm, I don't fucking work here.  I pay for it, you ring it up.

Last question
My question for him is if he has any formal experience writing?

Hmmm, I'm not sure.  Have I ever written while dressed formally?  Yes, at Eron's wedding.  Have I ever been published?  No.  Have I ever taken college courses?  There ain't nothin' they can teach that you can't learn on the streets.  I don't claim to be a great writer but I also don't think a college can make one.  It can teach you sentence structure, grammar, etc.  But classes can't teach you to speak in the written form.  I would like to think that the greats (well, the greats to me) weren't taught to be great.  They were just filling time.  It seems to me very few of the the people who teach writing are great writers.  I don't way this because I feel the need to defend anything because I lack something, I just feel this is a truth.  Great writing is completely subjective and I feel too many people are forced to read horrible writers because somebody of influence decided they were great.  I've read better written "airplane" novels than I have from unreadable "greats."  I sincerely think a person can write passably well if he reads obsessively often.  I don't think I am by any means a great writer.  I don't often consider myself good.  I don't think you can work yourself up to being a great writer either.  I guess you either are or you aren't.  If you question is meant to mean you think I am a passable writer, then I thank you.  I do enjoy writing.  I really, really do.  I have no delusions of being some great 20th century writer.  I'm happy that this has gotten any attention outside of friends and family who have to tell you that you're super fucking awesome.  I have personal friends who are much better writers and whose hard work at it deserves much more attention than it gets.  Maybe she should go to prison and see what happens.

Maybe not.  But the answer to the question is no.  No formal experience writing, except that one time, in a tux, writing dirty jokes on a napkin.


  1. Thanks again to Ryan for continuing to write this and of course to John for doing all it entails to get this posted for us to read. Keep going Ryan, I feel like I'm getting to know you!

  2. Question: Ever committed a violation to get tossed into solitary on purpose?