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Prison Pete

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Friday, August 27, 2004
  A new approach.
I have spent time watching those parts of myself that may not fit the norm have an adverse effect on people, yet, at the same time, others benefit from my efforts. What seems to be a problem sometimes? Yes, this is an overly simplistic view, but see if you can get where I am heading.

Well, I am back from the 4:30 PM stand up count. Talk about consistency - every day for the last eight years, day in and day out, I have been locked in my cell and forced to stand up while two correction officers pass by the cell, peek in the 8" wide by 3' high window and verify the total number of inmates housed here.

Well, back to my random ramblings, is that people isolate a particular behavior and then use it, assuming other things that are not true. For example, I think I might have mentioned how I was being accused behind my back of some illegal doings here. This accusation came to me through my psychologist. The staff passed on their feelings to her, expecting her to deal with me. When she told me the accusations I was dumbfounded, because they were not true. My psychologist sort of told them that in her opinion I might have not realized what was going on. This indeed was the truth, but again, people assume that my advanced intelligence means that I am smart all-over so to speak. Point in fact, my social skills are not as advanced as my intelligence.

The other point about people wanting the good without the rest: my obsessive desire to be accepted, which before I was incarcerated led to my sometimes working 18 to 24 hours straight to solve computer problems. But this did not necessarily lead to understanding when I showed up late or missed a phone call. I thought that my extraordinary efforts entitled me to some slack. Others did not feel this way.

A new approach for me might be the following. To say that the recreation equipment here is abused is to be kind. Well, I read all the information available and realized we were not using it in a proper way. (God it is tough keeping my train of thought, since I am not printing this, and only have the one-line 80-character window which keeps jumping after each 80 characters.) Instead of going off half-cocked and telling the staff, I first sought out agreement for the work I was going to do. I took control. I know I can wear on people’s nerves, so instead of assuming that because I am so gifted, anything I do will always be appreciated, despite constant evidence to the contrary, and further, that my special talents buys me some slack, also constantly proved false.

But some of us just take longer to get the message.

As I think I mentioned, I work in a room with two others. Well, for better or worse, I take on a lot of the gopher work and staff contact stuff. One night I came in from walking and was in a rush to make the move back to the unit. The guys asked me if a particular Rec cop was outside I said yes, and then they asked me to go get him.

I said no, I was in a rush to make the move back to the unit. They razzed me a bit and my comment back was, "Yeah, it sucks when I want to take care of myself once in a while."

See, what I have been finding is that the most important thing one can learn is who you are and that even the bad parts of you can be OK if you are honest and deal with them upfront.

This would probably make more sense in person, but that is just another excuse. Sure, typing the thoughts out on paper is hard for me, but the reality of the situation is this is the only way at this point that I can share some of these thoughts with you. So I must buckle down and not take the easy way out which is to say, if you came down here to visit, I would tell you this or that.

One of the things I remember growing up was how my Dad would always mimic my whining "That's not fair". The point to me, and that is what is important, is that it was not fair, and one should be grateful that life is not fair. Somehow, somewhere, I thought life was supposed to be fair. Probably one of those misinterpreted Sunday School lessons.

In the Jim Carey movie where Carey is given the powers of God for the Buffalo, NY area, he uses the computer to handle all the prayers. Well, he gets so overloaded that he has all the prayers answered "Yes". The next day, thousands of Buffaloites win the first prize in the lottery. Unfortunately, since the payout is related to the number of winners, the grand prize is like $4 each.

So do you really want life to be fair? Kind of like the anti-bullying thing. Violence is definitely over the line, but how do you get kids to treat each other the same. You cannot. Just like all the bullshit "no child left behind" stuff, do we really need an entire generation of third graders proving they can fill in the right boxes on some standardized test?

One of the few things I do remember my Dad doing when we were younger is he would read to us before bed. It did not happen too often since he was out so often, but I remember reading about Toby Tyler and the circus.

One of the things reading does is it provides a common bond. While my interaction with most inmates is kept to a minimum, when they read the same book we can at least say what we thought about the book and use it as a springboard for a general discussion.

7:00 PM and at six minutes to type a page, I better start the draft printing now. Damn it, this has to be printed or else it will not make it out tonight. So I will keep the draft and compare it to your letters and begin the outline for another letter.
 
Comments:
hey pete, i am an ex-con, in washington state, really i just got out of jail yesterday on a violation, and i think you blog is great. good luck with every thing and if you can get in touch with me phatkatmando@hotmail.com
www.forgrtneknot.blogspot.com
and i would really like to stay in touch with you
 
Quoted from Prison Pete:

"This indeed was the truth, but again, people assume that my advanced intelligence means that I am smart all-over so to speak. Point in fact, my social skills are not as advanced as my intelligence.

The other point about people wanting the good without the rest: my obsessive desire to be accepted, which before I was incarcerated led to my sometimes working 18 to 24 hours straight to solve computer problems. But this did not necessarily lead to understanding when I showed up late or missed a phone call. I thought that my extraordinary efforts entitled me to some slack. Others did not feel this way."

*****

Pete - just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one who suffers from that problem. I'm a tech and I'm good at it - and because of my desire for acceptance or appreciation I often spend too much time working for free. It as an ongoing battle that I hope I'm overcoming - and what you've written has helped me. There is a balance between doing good things for people you care about for free or at a discount, charging an honest day's work for an honest day's work (no matter how much you'd rather have the appreciation), and ignoring those who just want to use you. Sometimes telling "those who just want to use you" is difficult, which makes achieving the balance very tricky indeed sometimes. It would be easier if I worked for a company - just do your work and get your paycheck. Doing it on your own is more of an adventure. When you get out in November, I hope you find this balance easier than I have - the time you have spent in incarceration may have provided you with lessons that I'm still learning. Good luck - and thanks!

-J
 
P.S. - I've found that sometimes you can make your own "slack" - sometimes it's not a bad thing to point out to someone that "hey - I'm *good* - and I *deserve* some slack - so back off." It is a great feeling of joy to be able to tell someone "It's my life, I need a break, and I'm taking it - if you don't like it, then that's tough." In the corporate world this is difficult sometimes if you want to keep your job (then again, you were looking for a job when they hired you), but in your personal life this can be a sanity-saver.

-J
 
Neat.(?)

I didn't have the time to read everything but it sounds Like a Very cool blog. I hope prison is...um...being good to you.

but now that I think of it, I hope it isn't because you're IN PRISON. And you probably did something horrible, so in the end, Fuck you.
 
In protested response to O-l-a's comment:
It's so easy to say "Fuck you" to people you don't know, especially at the ripe age of 15. What you don't understand is that even though Pete is in prison, he is still talking about the same issues that everyone else goes through. Most people who have hit puberty and are out in the real world can associate with Pete's writings.

Sometimes you have to look past the person's actions to see the real person inside. This is one lesson that takes a lifetime to learn and a conscience effort to overcome. I'm not saying that what Pete did is OK but everyone deserves respect and sometimes, a second chance. You are the type of person that I hope Pete never meets when he gets out, because you are the epitome of discouragement and ridicule. For your own sake, I hope you meet a person similar to yourself... it'll be a real eye-opener.
Good Luck Pete,
Suzie
 
Pete, It amazes me how truely intelligent you are. I know few people who can speak as clearly and use such vocabulary as you do. Just wanted to let you know that I am surely intrigued. I guess everyone makes mistakes...
Good luck with everything.
Don't let the popularity of your Blog exclude you to exercise your mind.
 
Pete, I think the Grand Illusion that life is supposed to be 'fair' is something most of us suffer from. It is of course, Bullshit of the worst kind. I can't make out where it comes from.. Except the general culture of non-acceptance and intolerance that prevails in the west.

I think once this is accepted, it becomes unimportant, and what becomes important, is the understanding that there is something in this life to be transcended. Truly transcended. All that in us that assumes all these damaging things, about ourselves and others, and keeps us from living with passion, integrity (whatever that means is an individual matter, not to be dictated by 'civlized' society!) and love.

Keep blogging Pete, and keep thinking about the humour there is, inherently, in this world. It is a funny bizarre thing to be alive at all..
 
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