88 | And the Winner Is …

June 28, 2009
Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Letter #88: And the Winner Is …


Dear Family,

Greetings! I know that all my stories of how blessed, blessed, blessed I am make you wish you had my life, right? Aww, c’mon, people! Play along!

Okay, let’s just pretend that you’d been contemplating a move to the Big House to experience all the incredible blessings I receive here. Well, in order to dissuade you from further idiocy, let me recommend that you speak to Mommy, Michael, or Katie—all of whom took me up on my inane “Prisoner for a Day” challenge I issued back in March.

All of these brave individuals denied themselves the comforts of freedom, fast food, and feather pillows to create a prison-like existence for themselves. Each lived off of a prison diet, followed a daily prison routine, and even stayed locked in the bathroom overnight!

Since I awarded only a minimal number of points for each successfully completed activity (such as 20 points for hand-washing your laundry in the bathroom sink), it was quite remarkable that my mother scored a whopping 760 points, and Michael and Katie scored just over 1000 points each!

Congratulations to Katie on winning the 24-Hour “Prisoner for a Day” Challenge, edging Michael out by 10 points! Her prize (as advertised) would be made by a prisoner: a folded-paper tiered mobile, made from chip bags by my buddy from Delano, Mike Guerra. Inside the three rings of the mobile hangs a picture frame. I will be sending it off as soon as possible.

If speaking to a Prisoner for a Day” participant doesn’t serve to dissuade you from thinking prison life is all about blessings and not a little bit of inconvenience, let me give you an example or two of our fine medical and dental care.

    • The cookies served with our sack lunches a few days per week are so hard that many prisoners have chipped or cracked their teeth on them, including two of my Christian friends. One of them cracked a tooth so badly that he had to pull its remainder himself. This is a bit complicated with the limited resources of cell living, and he was of course not the first prisoner to need to do so.
    • A Christian brother was punched in the mouth several years ago in prison. He straightened his teeth, which had bent inside his mouth, by pulling on them with his fingers. He can’t bite anything harder than bread, because they are still loose.
    • My current cellie, Lorenzo, tied his three front teeth (on the bottom) together, to supposedly give them more stability and stench strength. When the middle one fell out, he tied it back in place rather than go to the prison dentist and get the other two pulled, then wait for dentures.
    • My neighbor was jumped by two guys on the yard, thus getting his wrist broken. A cast was put on it, but he had to cut it off himself when it began to stink 10 weeks later. He’s wrapped his wrist tightly in a sheet for now.
    • Many inmates become hooked on prescription drugs, as the prison system medicates for everything. In my building, around 80% of the inmates are on drugs. If you used to take vitamin supplements before prison, they are not provided for you while you are here. If, however, you were taking estrogen therapy or female hormones in an attempt to look like a woman, the state will continue your expensive treatments at the taxpayer’s expense throughout your time in prison. Disgustingly ridiculous, isn’t it?

Anyhoo, I hope that helps tarnish your “prison is awesome” mental image.  🙂

Thank you for praying for my health and safety—God is good! Please pray that God blesses our choir performance special for July 4th. I’ll be leading the choir and our quartet as we perform on the yard Saturday morning.

It’s really looking as if James and I will be able to move upstairs in the next couple of weeks. Thank you for praying! I love you all!