I'VE BEEN SERVED

My Daily Journal in Federal Prison

Day 56

HappyAmericaeverybody!  Oh, the irony of spending Independence Day in Federal Prison.  USA!…USA!…USA!  The institution movie that was screened all day was some obscure (seemingly made-for-television or straight-to-Betamax) Revolutionary War pic from 1985 starring Al Pacino, within which they made absolutely no attempt to reduce the New York bravado or tame the Stallone-like haircut from the young Godfather.

After sleeping in past breakfast, I made sure that I was real hungry for the 4th of July feast in the chow hall.  Moments before heading out, I caught a CNN story on the annual competitive hot-dog eating contest at Nathan’s Coney Island — did you know that 68 hot dogs with buns rack up nearly 21,000 calories??  Well, that sure seemed on par with what I would end up consuming at lunch.

Check this out — each inmate was served 2 burgers, 2 hot dogs, a mound of pasta salad, a heap of baked beans, a mess of corn niblets, and 4 gigantic pieces of watermelon.  I felt as I needed someone to cart me out of there in a wheelbarrow when I was all finished.  Thank God there were no three-legged races or potato-sack hops scheduled for the afternoon.  (There was a softball tournament, however, which — for fun? — the players were forced to run the bases COUNTER-CLOCKWISE.  Prison shenanigans, oh joy!)

About an hour or two later, we were all harkened back to the chow hall to pick up our brown-bag dinners, consisting of two bologna sandwiches with AMERICAN cheese, a bag of stale Famous Amos oatmeal raisin cookies, some non-descript potato chips, and a can of Sam’s Club brand cola.  Because of the Federal holiday, the staff was lighter than normal, hence the earlier than usual dinner, served in a (sad) sack.

I’m not a big fan of weekends or holidays around here…primarily because they lack a certain energy that is slightly more present during the work week.  Things seem to be getting DONE during the week, as mundane as those tasks may be.  Plus, there is always the excitement of mail call, which is devastating in its absence on days such as these.

No fireworks for me this year.  Instead, I spent most of the day tackling Jeffrey Eugenides‘ Pulitzer-Prize winning “Middlesex,” which seemed appropriate enough considering the detailed journey of immigrants through some of the most challenging decades in American history.  And the narrator is a hermaphrodite.

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