10 | He Is Risen!

March 23, 2008
Resurrection Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Letter #10: He Is Risen!


Dear Family,

Happy Resurrection Day! I had to teach the boys at breakfast what the proper response to “He is risen!” is. One guy (out of the fifty on my tier I eat with twice a day) said, “Amen,” but the others just stared at me like I was announcing that “Sleepy” (not his real name) just woke up. By the end of breakfast, I had a few respond. We’ll have to see how they do at dinner.

For those of you who may recall my days of dramatic toilet paper rationing while housed in the Santa Clara County Main Jail, rest assured that those days are far in the past, now that I’m in the Big House. No, it’s not because they pass out Charmin Extra Strong at breakfast, and it’s not because I decided to bypass the entire process with a colostomy bag (aah, the great memories, eh, Daddy?). No, my situation has changed thanks entirely to the fact that Gypsy, my cellie, is a career thief. It turns out that nasty little habit has some practical benefits. I’m fuzzy on the particulars (especially when correspondence is monitored  🙂 ), but he brought back a roll after an eye exam. I do know that the process involved a man in a wheelchair as his cover/unwitting accomplice, who also received part of the loot. Yessir, that’s how we roll.

Even in “Protective Custody” or housed in a “Special Needs Yard” or SNY as they call it in the prison system, you all still have to be careful, I’m finding out. A scrawny white kid who lives next door to me is one example. He doesn’t like blacks, apparently. At all. He was sitting across from me at breakfast and pointed out a new arrival, a middle-aged black guy: “Looks like O.J. over there.” His cellie and mine joined me in turning to look.

“Eh,” I responded. “I see what you’re saying. He sort of looks like O.J.”

“He looks exactly like O.J.!” he insisted.

“Ha!” I laughed. “He looks more like O.J. than you do, but he doesn’t look that much like O.J. to me.”

Uh oh. His face changed. He looks to the other guys at the table and says, “Did he just say what I think he said?”

I repeated it for him.  🙂  Well, then he claimed he’d like to attack me for what I said. I still thought he must not have heard me correctly—he must have thought I said he looks like O.J. (which I would never do, because this kid is completely bald and looks like he hasn’t played football a day in his life). So, I slowly repeated what I said, explaining that in most circles, this comment would have been downright funny. Oops. Guess not his psycho-sensitive circle.

Assuming it was probably just “that” time of month for him, I apologized for comparing him to a black man. Really. Really? Wow. Problem is he’s gonna have to get over his little problem, because since I hadn’t even compared him to a black man, I would say the exact same thing next time. Besides, if I was going to call him names, I wouldn’t imply that he had a nice skin color—he looks as if he has never been out in the sun in his life. He may take longer to reach, but I’m praying for Jeremy.

Two days later, on Good Friday, a voodoo doll with Satanic symbols on it and an upside-down cross on its chest showed up under my door. I laughed and threw it away. Does whoever did this even realize Who my Dad is? Do they know that Satan can’t do anything to me without His permission? I didn’t think any more about it, but Gypsy was bothered. Though he has professed a belief in Christ, he is still very superstitious. He was yelling and swearing.

At pill call, he shot out of our cell door and yelled that he was going to “reverse-curse” the mother of whoever left us the voodoo doll. He is known to be knowledgeable in such things, so we had an apology letter, begging forgiveness, within ten minutes. I’m working on Gypsy to try to leave his dark past behind: to give up palm readings, etc. He went to church with me yesterday, and would you believe that the preacher denounced palm reading, tarot cards, and fortune telling specifically?  🙂  God is good!

Dinner time now! Sunday nights, we actually get a bit of ice cream. Yum.