As I count down to that near day my freedom ends, I'm kept awake each night wondering and worrying about what awaits me on my new adventure. The fears are amorphous and confused, like an explorer on the edge of the Amazon, afraid to take that first step. As we all know, what we don't know is what really scares us. And the fact is, I don't know enough about prison to know if I should be scared at all or what I should be scared of. I scour the internet but even in this information age the facts are few and far between.
Should I be scared of the bars and the wire? Or unwanted attention in the shower? Could the stereotypes be true? Or do I have nothing more to fear than mushy peas in the commissary? The fact is, I'm a quiet, mild-mannered guy. I watched Orange is the New Black and came to the unwanted conclusion that there's no way in hell I could defend myself in the same way as Piper. The facts: I've never even been in a fight, never hit anyone. In fact, I can count the number of times on one hand that I actually broke down and yelled.
Ok, I'll go ahead and admit it, the evidence is clear: I'm a wimp.
So to combat my wimpiness and turn my amorphous fears into the concrete, I decided to write this list of my greatest prison fears. Please bear in mind that these are my most concrete fears, not the global issues that we all know and expect such as loss of freedom, loss of rights, separation from friends and family. Those are all givens. I know of them and can try at least to prepare for them. What scares me are the stereotypes, the tall tales, the day-to-day aspects of life as a prisoner that I can only imagine.
I hope that some day, when I'm released back into freedom, that these fears will seem stupid and overblown. But what I'm scared of is that I'll look back and see that they were justified. I guess only time will tell.
The Top Ten Reasons Why I'm Scared of Prison
1. Big tough guys who will beat me up, take my pie and make me grovel
2. Dropping my soap in the shower
3. Ignorant prison guards with eighth-grade educations and billy clubs
4. Inadvertently touching an electric fence or pricking my finger on barbed wire
5. Breaking a rule I didn't know about and being sent to solitary
6. Being awakened by a siren
7. Dirty bathrooms last cleaned during the Nixon administration
8. Unidentifiable, worm-filled slop in the chow hall. Mushy peas.
9. Getting beat up for changing the television channel
10. Being placed on the warden's shit list
Oh, now I realize that I have one more:
11. Loving prison so much that I become a career criminal, an incorrigible recidivist.
There, now we have it. My greatest fears of prison. Maybe now I'll be able to sleep tonight.