51 | I Won!

August 27, 2008
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Letter #51: I Won!


Dear Family,

Greetings! I hope and pray you all are doing well! I’m just finishing up my first six months of incarceration—my, how time flies when you’re having fun, right?  🙂

Yep, according to my plea “deal,” I’ve done one six-month stint, so now there are only 29 more to go! Or, if you prefer, the first six of my 180 months are done—on to the other 174! I’ve never been the type to plan in advance, and certainly never this far in advance. It really simplifies things, though. If you were to wonder what my Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s plans are, I could tell you without even checking my calendar! Cool, huh?

Oh, stop it. Don’t you dare feel sorry for me! I’m healthy, happy, busy, blessed, and almost sane! Listening to Christian radio station KLOVE the other day, I heard a dad call in, asking for prayer for his 8-year-old boy, who is dying. How crazy would it seem, in light of that situation, to feel sorry for any of the rest of us, who have it so good? The poor dad, his voice choking, said he trusts God with the life of his son. It’s safe to say that my week is going a little better than his—how dare I pity myself?!? His story rocked me, and I begged God to not let me ever forget all that I have.

My cellie and I got into it—again. I’m not sure if I keep catching him during “that time of the month” or what. (After all, he mentioned to me once that he thinks he might be hitting menopause soon. Good thing he was on his bunk where he couldn’t see me, holding my sides laughing. At him.) But, every once in a while, he can get a tad bit cranky, or hypersensitive.

Normally, you see, I just let him talk. And talk. And talk. As in, he can wax eloquent for an hour—about nothing. Or about the same thing he waxed on/waxed off about the day before. For an hour and a half. In that space of time, I can sometimes manage to get a partial word in, edgewise (but stacked on its end).

I use grunts, too. Today, for example, he spoke on reading people’s faces, hands, and body language, as I tested his supposed reading skills by flashing him the universal signs for “I’m dying of extreme boredom.”

So, what, you ask, was the occasion for the “getting into it” moment? Well, it seems that my big killer friend has forgotten that (a) certain topics related to essential doctrines of my faith have already been discussed. At length. (b) Those discussions took us absolutely nowhere, and (c) I am willing to die rather than compromise on those beliefs (Santa not included). Sure, we argued long into the night about the fact that you can know you are saved. (He says he hopes he is but will have to wait and see.)

But, this latest reason for me breaking out of my usual silence? Was it, perhaps, his statement that the U.S. government doesn’t want a cheap fuel source because they won’t get as many taxes? Nope. I let that one go. How about the notion that by dragging a generator behind it, a battery-powered car would never have to stop? Oh, I see. You mean, while lying on your bottom bunk, you’ve finally solved the greatest scientific puzzle of all time, creating a perpetual-motion machine? Nope. I didn’t say a word as he murdered another 45 minutes with that one.

How about the known fact that Barak Obama is not going to win the election? After all, “look at our history. The U.S. has never had a woman president or a black president. They just put them there to make you think they’re being fair.” Nope. I didn’t even bother to ask who “they” is, letting another 30 minutes of my life slip away, unnoticed.

What was it? He got on my math nerves.

He maintained that, just as in the 4x100 meter relay (one lap around the track) where runners stagger their start positions but stay in their own lanes, the same start positions should be taken for the 4x400 meter relay (4 laps around the track), the runners staying in their lanes the whole race (instead of just for the 1st lap, then everyone runs the inside lane). A former high school runner—which led me to believe he missed math class—he thought the staggered start solved problems.

I could not get him to see that, to stay in their lanes for four laps, the start positions would have to be set back exponentially four times the distance they are behind the lead position (lane 8) in the 4×100 meter relay.

Total cost to my life: Two hours. Proving I was right: Priceless.