Tears of Incarceration | Stealing from Your Kids - Part 2/3

» This entry is PART TWO, continued from » Part One. It was split into three pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

» Purpose of Jail » Convey the Message

Now you might think, as I once did, that the purpose of jails and the purpose of prisons is basically the same » to incarcerate (warehouse) inmates. And you'd be wrong.

Rotting in a jail cellWhile it is certainly true that jails do indeed incarcerate inmates .. that is not their primary purpose.

Prisons incarcerate, yes. Prisons warehouse. But the primary purpose of a JAIL is to » convey a message. And that message is [ drumroll, please ] » "You do not want to be here."

Jails (at least from my admittedly limited experience) do a good job at conveying this message. Very good.

They have a variety of methods and techniques at their disposal by which they communicate their message. (More about this later.)

Seems that JAILS are designed to warehouse inmates up for to 1 year. PRISONS, on the other hand, are designed for longer-term storage (> 1 year).

Now, you do not have to tell the man-in-prison that he "does not want to be here." No, sir. Because » he already knows. [ He GETS the message, which he has had plenty-of-time to ponder and interpret. ]

That is why inmates who come down to jails from prisons "upstate" (.. at least, the ones that I talked to) .. hate life in county jails. "They treat you like shit here," they say.

And treat you like shit they do. As a matter of policy .. sort of what you might imagine how slaves are/were treated.

And the younger kids are treated worst of all. So it seems that they obviously want to convey the message to them most clearly.

» Conveying the Message | Conveying it Clearly

The Sheriff Deputies, who run the jail that I frequent, admittedly have a tough job. I can't imagine anyone actually enjoying it .. cuz the environment suks. The polar opposite of a park ranger stationed at Yosemite.

Nelson Mandela, who spent 30 years in prisonAnd they do an admirable job at executing their duties. Professional, given the circumstances. Tho nice they are not. Not hardly. Oh, contraire.

They are mostly large men .. fit, muscular. Some are VERY large.

Now, in public, they bark orders and ride inmates. For example, I saw one deputy tell an inmate to slide down the bench ..

.. at the nurses' processing station .. in order to make room for more inmates who had just arrived (.. they never stop arriving).

The inmate STOOD UP in order to move down (3 or 4 steps). "Did I tell you to get up?" the deputy yelled.

He then went to considerable length to stress upon this man the importance of following orders. "Is this your first time in jail?" he inquired. "That's your last warning."

I must admit, he was good at what-he-did. I mean, he only had to tell that one guy and all those other new-recruits (inmates) got the message.

The volume of inmates they deal with remarkable. So the multiplication factor becomes the key to efficiency.

I am totally impressed every time they return my clothes (.. when it's time to get out). If they said, "Dude, we lost 'em. Sorry." .. I would certainly understand. Jails are a serious machine.

But in private they can also be surprisingly kind, even tenderhearted, trying to find a solution to your legal dilemma. [ Everybody wants to know why you're there. ]

How they can go from one mode to the other .. interests me. Cuz I don't think I could do it. And they seem to do it so effortlessly .. like sipping a Coke .. or not sipping it.

One of the ways they communicate their message .. is by taking ALL NIGHT to get you into your cell. So you spend all night moving from one temporary holding cell to another. By the time I finally got to my cell, they were serving lunch (.. the next day).

So you're pretty much up all night. Interview with the nurse, fingerprints, mugshot, chest x-rays, classification interview (my favorite part) where they give you your hospital-like wristband, assigned jailhouse duds and bedding.

No medals would they win for speed. No way would the Hilton, the Marriot, or even Motel 6 hire them. Imagine arriving at the check-in desk at two or three in the afternoon .. and finally getting into your room around noon the next day.

••• today's entry continues here below •••

» My Big Scary-Looking Cell Mate [ Final Hour ]

Anyway .. I spent my WHOLE TIME alone [ .. I will discuss my experience with solitary confinement later ] except for the LAST HOUR .. when they brought in a big, scary-lookin' dude.

The UndertakerWhen I heard the buzzer and saw the door pop open, I thought, "Hey, I'm finally getting outta here."

Uh, no. Here comes this big dude ..

.. who, I woulda guessed, tipped the scales at 265 or 270 pounds [.. he later told me, when I asked, that he weighed "three hundred pounds" ]. He looked like, if he hit you, you'd go flying into the wall.

This is what I really wanna talk about .. because it was the most interesting part. [ I kinda said all that other stuff to say this. ]

Because .. this big, scary guy *was* the boy .. that I talked about at the beginning of today's entry. And he's all grown up now. "Surprise!" A man. And rather scary-looking, if you ask me.

Brief as it was .. our encounter was .. well .. let me tell you about it.

Shortly after our initial introductions and the interpersonal orientation that new cellmates go thru .. I told him some of my dad-stories .. sharing some of my experiences about being-a-dad (.. since that's obviously what we had in common). I told my stories complete with live-action body-motion special effects ..

.. animated there from my rack, while he sat close by there at the little table. [ Everything in a jail cell is close by .. including the pooper. ]

[ Every cell has a lovely stainless steel table that is bolted/welded to the concrete wall .. flanked by two round stainless steel discs for seats, each one bolted/welded to the marvy concrete floor.

Notice the pattern here? » Concrete and stainless steel. This motif is very popular with jails. The decor of industrial incarceration. ]

» Crying With My Big Scary-Looking Cell Mate

When I said the words, "My daddy's here! My daddy's here," he started wiping his eyes. [ Ten minutes earlier, he was telling me how he fought "3 and 4 guys togther, otherwise it's not a fair fight." =) ]

He told me how his wife mentioned that his daughter [ not her daughter, tho ] had "elevated" him back up to the status of "Daddy."

This man [ who, as a child, took a double mind-fucking .. from two different dads ] .. as you might imagine, had used drugs .. to help him deal with his reality. Self-medication. Use became a habit, it seems. And he did what might seem unthinkable » he stole from his kids.

[ Dude, regarding this topic, there is a 15-minute interview with (The Wire creator) David Simon posted » HERE .. that is SO GOOD that you must watch it. (Right now!)

He has been at this shit for most of his adult life. His focus is on drugs, but his conversation isnt limited to that.

I love this guy. Remarkable clarity. (And courage.)

I've never seen the Wire. No HBO/Showtime here. ]

Clown crying tearsBut it wasnt long until I started crying, too. "Ah, you're making ME cry now," I said, wiping my eyes ..

.. feeling reluctantly touched .. cuz it's okay for a man to cry .. but not in jail.

And here's the thing that made me cry .. because (I noticed) that it was a very specific (narrow) thing that made me cry ..

.. because I actually have built for myself a rather elaborate set of defenses ..

.. it was (this very specific thing that made me cry .. that was able to GET BEHIND my elaborately-crafted defenses) » his kids still love him.

And I could see that this psycho-mind trick-fucked man .. was actually (in many ways, tho certainly not all) ..

.. he was actually MORE FORTUNATE than many people I know (.. and who YOU know, too) .. who certainly seem like fortune has smiled upon them.

And it had a lot to do with the final scene from Pulp Fiction .. which plays perfectly to this point » in other words, he may get his ass kicked (by drugs / life / society) from time to time, but look at him .. he's still TRYING.

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, pub 1925"Good for you, brother. That is some admirable courage you have there."

[ This is WHY F Scott Fitzgerald *begins* his famous masterpiece » The Great Gatsby .. like this »

» In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

"Whenever you feel like criticizing someone," he told me, "just remember that all the people in the world havent had the advantages you've had." </end quote>

In other words » Fitzgerald gets it.

And if you are easily offended by heartfelt invectives, you should probably read that quote again.

If you have a copy of Gatsby, you'll find it right there at the beginning. ]

And I could see that, despite the horrendous mind-fucking he endured as a young boy, he is *still* a very lucky/fortunate man .. that his kids havent written him off.

His youngest daughter is the one who started calling him, "Daddy," again. He takes her to school .. and "asks if there's anything she needs."

» Not Surprised

I have not cried for a long time. I felt for this guy .. his situation .. especially the shit he went thru as a boy. I was not surprised he had gotten into trouble with drugs. Not at all.

Russell Brand wearing a black hatI mean, even the President (Obama) was big into drugs as a youth.

Do you notice any other similarities he might share with our Fifth Grader?

Perhaps a dad who said » "Dude, you're on your own. Because I dont really want to be in your life." No?

» The Old Texan Whose Kids All Hated Him

Side story. Cuz this is where it needs to go.

We disconnect momentarily from where we were and will return very shortly .. after my side story about this guy I knew (from Texas).

An older man. I think he was 72 when I made his acquaintance.

It is not an easy story for me to tell. (I can feel something inside shaking .. just getting ready to.)

He had a business providing chemistry control to local businesses. Well, I know all about chemistry control .. of the water/coolant that flows thru a nuclear reactor.

I went with him a few times .. to these very industrial places. There was talk of him leaving the business to me ..

.. or maybe I just heard what I wanted to hear. (You know.) But he was not yet ready to retire and I could not work for him for nothing (.. not for very long, anyway).

Anyway, he told me how he worked his ass off when he was young, and how he made a shit-load of money ..

.. and how he was gone much of the time .. and how his kids HATED him (.. his absence being but one reason) ..

.. and there are many powerful emotions that come from the realization of this disappointment.

But I will just leave it here for now and let you use your own imagination to explore what emotions this man might have.

We're talking about spending many hours together.

If I had to choose just one word, I would say » bitter.

</end side story .. for now>

The link / connection to my jail cell-mate .. is that this old man now (then) had a young boy in his life ..

.. and he treated that boy like gold. And that boy loved him. The son of a woman whom he befriended. It saved rent money, for her, yes, and even for my old friend.

But he had money. He did not live with her for money reasons.

My point in telling / relaying the story about the wise old man .. was that I could see I DID NOT WANT TO BE HIM.

» Fortune and Forgiveness

But there was also a sad side to my tears. The realization » that's how BADLY kids need a dad .. that they're willing to forgive .. no matter how many times he stole from them .. his own kids.

The cops had picked him up on an arrest warrant while pulling him over for routine traffic stop. "Brake lights," I think he said. He was surprisingly articulate for such a scary-looking dude. Very well spoken. Able to convey sophisticated concepts with both style and clarity.

And when I saw HOW LUCKY he was .. to still have his kids in his life .. and how HE KNEW how lucky he was (.. I mean, they ALL still live with him .. even his sons, those in their 20's) .. that was too much for me and I cracked (started crying).

Jules trying real hard in final scene of Pulp FictionWe only had a little time together .. so I told him what I knew about beating addictions ..

.. that is » you can't just quit (.. it's very difficult to .. which he obviously already knew) ..

.. rather that you must REPLACE the addiction .. with something else .. preferably something bigger & shinier .. to capture your attention, completely as possible.

Cuz it's hard to turn away from something shiny that has [ for some reason ] captured your attention.

[ Isnt this what Newton is saying at t=8:30 here? ]

He has a wife who loves him, so he has emotional support, a vital ingredient. He had spent a few years in jail already (.. for drugs) .. and was TIRED of jail. "I'm sooo tired of this shit, man."

"I only been here four days," I said, "and I'm tired of it already."

Later, after we were all cried out, he asked, "What did you think when you first saw me?" I said, "Yer a scary-looking, dude." =) I mean, he took up the whole doorway coming in .. like a refrigerator .. with a head.

Stealing from your kids» Stealing From Your Kids

I was also thinking today about the moral judgment .. that we [society] might cast upon the person who steals from his own kids ..

.. and then I thought about what is going on today .. how our generation is stealing from our kid's generation .. at the political level.

What Happens to Them?

So .. what happens to them? [ the question posed at the beginning of today's entry. ]

Answer » they end up in jail. In prison. For years. Usually for something related to drugs .. which they use to self-medicate .. to help ease the pain. What did you expect?

It's easy for those of us who grew up behind a white picket fence to point the finger and say, "Look! At the bad man there" .. when we know nothing about the bad man .. just cuz he might look different. Too easy.

And what happens to those painful, overwhelming, mind-fucking feelings? You tell me.

» The Only Way I Know » Touch the Faulty Circuit

The overlords had called (on the in-cell intercom) and told me to "Roll up" my stuff .. that I was "going home." So as I sat there near the door, with both arms wrapped around my bedding & mattress, waiting for them to press the buzzer and for the door to pop open ..

.. knowing that I could be gone at any minute .. I wanted to say what was really on my heart .. and not waste the opportunity on quaint jailhouse small-talk. I wanted to drill down, and I only had minutes to do it. I didnt want to regret not saying what I felt needed to be said.

"Let me ask you," I said, "when you were a kid, did you have the skills to deal with that shit?"

"No," he said, quietly.

Bolt of lightning strikes Empire State Bldg NYC"Of course not," I confirmed. "NO KID has those skills."

"You need to go back there," I remember telling him, "to that place .. now that you're older .. and now that you have the skills to deal with that kind of mind-fuck shit ..

.. and you need to put your arm around that little boy .. Einstein says that time is just an illusion .. no matter how persistent the illusion might seem ..

.. use your imagination to go there .. and tell that little boy that everything will be okay .. and that you will take care of him .. and that you won't let anything happen to him.

Maybe there are other ways to deal with and heal this nasty shit," I told him, "Easier ways. Better ways. There probably are. But I don't know any others. This is the only way I know.

Not much fun. It's like walking up and touching a faulty electrical circuit .. with sparks flying .. in order to short it out. So there IS an initial pop.

Then the emotions come .. in waves. The first waves are strong, and they come frequently. Stay with it. Ride it out. But as time passes .. the waves get smaller and they come less frequently. Easier to handle.

Drugs mask the pain. Or distract you from it. Which you obviously know.

Be conscious. Be present. Feel the shit. For that little boy .. who didnt know how. Who couldnt deal with it."

Some of my Christian friends might argue that God can heal you of this krap, and certainly that is something I would not dispute. (No, sir.)

But .. if God has indeed healed you, then uh, it should NOT BE PAINFUL .. to embrace, to assimilate, to honor .. that part of you that once WAS hurt .. no?

Demonstrating your healing, so to speak .. so you can prove that you're not still in denial.

But if you can't even talk about it .. without distress .. then that would not be a good sign. Make sense?

Have you ever had this conversation? » "Dude, what's that green slime seeping out from under your closet door?"

"Closet? What closet? I dont have any closets."

My experience with this healing-thing has been .. that it is like a reclaiming of a once toxic waste site. It's like you go out to make friends with a long-lost part of you ..

.. a part that you hadnt even noticed was missing. You have a new, renewed feeling of wholeness, soundness, inner integrity .. peace, a sense of well-being. Contentment.

You might not be aware that your long-lost brother is missing .. but you know when he returns. And you get him back by going and getting him .. because he is so fucked up that he can't help himself.

That has been my experience. It's a long process that starts with a single small conscious spark .. when we stop denying that he exists. Not the most pleasant thing .. but necessary and ultimately rewarding.

Perhaps it would help if I put it this way » How can you forget something that is regularly gnawing on your ass .. if you won't even acknowledge its presence?

That's when they buzzed the cell-door and it popped open. Kluh-CHANG! [ Everything in jail is done remotely .. from a command center/post. ] And I was gone.

He said he was happy to see *anybody* get out, but I think he really would have liked me to stay.

Wolf howling at the moon» I Know Somebody

When I got down to the bottom of the stairs, they popped the door to the day-room. I shut it behind me looked up to my old cell ..

.. and made meaningful eye contact which said, "You're gonna be okay, big guy. It's gonna suk. But you're gonna be okay.

I'm gonna talk to somebody. Can't make you any promises. But this shit does not seem right to me."

As I walked away I thought » "I will be heard, tho. I can guarantee you that."

» Last Autumn Full Moon of 2012

On this month's full moon [ Wed, Nov 28 ] I went for another walk ..

.. this being the last full moon of autumn .. and I caught myself praying for that man .. when I wasnt even trying to ..

.. as tho something inside were praying for him ON ITS OWN. So I joined in. =)

There on my moonlit walk. On the dark sacred night.

My prayer for today's entry is that the prisoner might hear me at midnight .. and find comfort there.

In keeping with the tenets of web site optimization, today's entry has been broken into THREE PAGES. The final page is posted here » Tears of Incarceration | Stealing from Your Kids - Part 3

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on November 28, 2012 11:28 AM.

Tears of Incarceration | Stealing from Your Kids - Part 1/3 was the previous entry in this blog.

Tears of Incarceration | Stealing from Your Kids - Part 3/3 is the next entry in this blog.

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