I think I’m ready to go to prison. This might seem like a bad idea. Anyone looking at me would think I’m completely unfit for life in a state penitentiary. I’m short and small. I’m white. I sound like a professor of boring when I talk. I haven’t been in a fight in decades. Other inmates would see a giant target painted on me. I could picture my cellmate using my face to scour our shared toilet bowl. And that’s just what I can imagine him doing. By the time I’d meet him, he would have had plenty of time to think of something even worse to do to me.
Most readers will pass off my purported desire to be incarcerated as an attempt to be shocking. Not so. Life on the outside certainly is comfortable by comparison, but it’s also demanding enough that I’d like out (or in this case, in). I’m not quite ready to just die. I’d like to sit somewhere and simply review my memories while my body decays. Prison seems like the place to do this. I’m guessing some readers are already calling me crazy. I’m not (which is what crazy people tend to say).
Think about it. I wouldn’t need money and thereby I wouldn’t need a real job. I might have to perform a work detail, but that would give me something to do all day. I’d have a mostly warm, dry place to sleep. I’d have food and some meager degree of free medical service. This is better than what some people sleeping in the alley behind my apartment building have.
The monotony of prison life doesn’t sound horrible. As it is, I do the same thing every day as a free person. I respond well to routines. Taking orders wouldn’t be hard for me. For years, I’ve thought I could adjust to the simplicity of a lack of freedom. I impose limits to the freedom I have now. I choose not to do most of what I’d like to do. Having freedom denied would feel different, but there isn’t much I really want to do anyway.
I’d keep my head down. I’d speak when spoken to. Without knowing anyone at the start, I’d have no established allegiances. At all costs, I’d avoid any. If someone picks on me, I’d stand up for myself, get the shit beaten out of me, and move on. Pride wouldn’t get the best of me. Others might get to me, but I wouldn’t get to myself. I’d never take anything further than what would be necessary for survival. Perhaps in defending myself I could get thrown in solitary. Everyone always claims that’s the worst. I’ve always thought it sounds like a sanctuary.
Just being in prison might be its own sanctuary. I wouldn’t have to fret over what to do with the next several years of my life. I’m probably not going to use the time particularly well otherwise, so this would fill it for me. Considerations about saving, investing, and planning for any kind of future could be put on hold or abandoned. My plans would be set. Go to prison. Stay there. Try not to die. Leave if I’m allowed to leave. Simple.
In truth, I’ve never been through anything truly difficult. I’ve never known war or poverty or genuine strife. Nothing has hardened me to the extremes of existence. If I can survive in prison and eventually reenter society, I might have a deeper appreciation for freedom. I’d at least have an excuse for why nothing seems to go my way. I could always fall back on the “I’ve been in prison” excuse.
So I might get beaten. I can prepare for the pain in an assortment of ways. So I might get raped. I suppose I could prepare for that as well. So I might get abused in other unpredictable ways. I’m creative and depraved enough that I think I can mentally prepare for the worst. Maybe I’d eat my words like so many urinal cakes. Maybe I’d scream at ghosts in solitary. Maybe I’d crack in two weeks. I wonder. I might instead find exactly what I need.
I guess all that is left for me is to plan my crime.