© 2016 by Charles D. Jones

TV Room

May 23, 2016

I try to stay out of the TV Room at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. The word is that most of the disturbances either take place or start there, so it just seems like a good place to avoid. There are TVs outside in the Recreation Pavilion that provide an excellent venue for watching college football and basketball, CBS Sunday Morning, and 60 Minutes, which is all the television that I need. However, as I'm ending my 9th month here, I have learned some of the ins and outs of TV culture at this federal prison camp.

 

I've learned that the TV Room, like society in general, is divided into unique subcultures, and it appears that our room has distinctly three. Let's call the first “Redneck Rendezvous,” with 2 TVs where "Me and My Cousin Eugene Are Trying To Catch That There Monster Catfish" and "Alaska Also Has White Trash" are on a continual loop. Only one inmate may be in charge of the remote, determined each day by whomever is in attendance and has the fewest teeth. There's an unwritten rule that no more than 25% who are present at any given time may have an IQ greater than the number of available channels, which is sadly a mid-double digit number. Thankfully this section clears out late Saturday evening and Saturday Night Live can be viewed, so I can keep up with the presidential campaign.

 

The second section is controlled by the “Nation of Islam” subculture. Of the 2 TVs there, one is always on the NBA 24/7/52. Always. Everyday. Nonstop. The 2nd TV is on some other sporting event, like the NBA Draft. I was once able to watch the final minutes of a Baylor football game on the second TV after the Recreation Pavilion closed for the evening, but of course I had to stand up. I did inquire about an empty seat, but was advised it was being used for an empty Dr. Pepper can and a mug to sit on. I would comment on the IQ of this subculture, but since I am a redneck, my comment might be misconstrued as being racially insensitive. Who wants to go there? Certainly not me, as I'm in enough trouble already. Let's just respectfully say that the inmate controlling the remote has all his teeth, even if they are all gold capped.

 

The third subculture is controlled by “La Raza Unida.” That subculture has well over 50% of the inmate population, but is "underserved" with only 2 TVs. While all members of LRU speak English too, they seem uninterested in watching English speaking TV. I can't help but wonder if that's because Telemundo and Univision are long on cleavage. Think of it like Fox News, but with much fewer clothes. There is no inmate in charge of the remote, as the channels never change. This group has also been the most welcoming of this smartass white boy. That's probably because they know I won't watch either channel, so there's little chance I'll take a seat, unless it's to compare cleavage on the 2 channels, which can kill 5 minutes, not that I would know. OK, it might be more like 10 minutes.

 

I should be able to finish out my time here without spending much time in the TV room, but I'm surely not above writing about it while trying to understand it.

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