In a recently televised interview, Martha Stewart was asked if she could recall any good that had come from her incarceration in a federal prison camp. She gave a quick, heartfelt, emphatic and one word answer, "NO!" While I completely understand Ms. Stewart's response, I have learned some valuable life skills here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. In fact, there are so many, I've made a list of them.
1. I've learned how to put on my underwear after a shower while wearing shower shoes without getting my underwear wet. This requires planning, concentration, balance and is detailed, step by step, in an early post here.
2. I've learned how to make a flat sheet into a fitted sheet. However, this trick only works with a sheet for a single bed which I hope to never again sleep on after I leave here.
3. I've learned that 6 snoring inmates within 4 feet of me is a soothing choir of background noise, but a soloist is unbearable. See #4.
4. I've learned that when inserting ear plugs before bedtime, they will go in much deeper into my ear canal if I open my mouth as wide as possible.
5. I've learned that expiration dates on food are mere suggestions. Thus far, they appear to be entirely overrated.
6. I've learned how to disassemble, troubleshoot, repair and reassemble an IBM Wheetwriter 3000 typewriter using only a flathead screwdriver and a can of WD-40.
7. I've learned something about Bureau of Prison staff who back into parking spots simply so they don't have to back out. They all exhibit overt signs of psychosis and various other personality disorders. In fact, this realization has caused me to think back over my pre-prison existence. This parking/psychosis correlation has proven to be consistently valid. I offer no explanation as to why this is true, only that it is. Now, I know there are times when backing into a parking spot makes sense, like when attending a sporting event. Then it's a distinct advantage when leaving the crowded parking lot and I cut off those pathetic losers who didn't plan ahead. But that's the only exception.
With 33 months down and 24 remaining before I'm eligible for home confinement, the list could easily grow into a Top Ten. Perhaps this could be some proof that, even as a felon, I can still be a life long learner.