Dear Mr. Sunshine Deathray,
With Dear Abby gone, R.I.P., I don’t have anyone that’ll listen to my troubles. Mr. Sunshine Deathray, I write to you in Folsom from my place of incarceration here at Ole Miss.
I came across your opinion article in the school paper at Folsom; feels like I’m at grandma’s house when reading your stuff. Really good stuff.
But I know you’re busy, so I’ll be quick.
I was just wondering if you’d listen like Dear Abby did whenever I was a fish starting on my sentence of four years for a B.S. in the 1st degree, one count. I got pressured a lot to click up and wear the brand from some of the organizations here in main street.
I told her about that, told her about turf-tagging billboards with those weird Greek symbols (as just about every organization at Ole Miss uses them), showing the colors and being at powwows and what not.
Well, Abby said it’s OK to be a GDI. But that didn’t work out too well in prison yard politics.
You see we had this “riot incident” here last November.
I heard all the noise going up and since I wasn’t involved (like most of the people here in main street), I just assumed the position and let it ride out.
Even unaffiliated, I still have to deal with the decisions of others just because of my skin color.
Next, I asked Abby to address my fears about turning into an all-day-and-nighter.
I’m finishing up one felony conviction right now, but two more felonies and I’m done.
Put the Dr. in front of my name and give me my Cadillac and I’ll wait out for the back-door parole or the stainless steel ride.
Abby said that prison was about rehabilitation (and time spent in the honored tradition) and that someday, I’d be able to reintegrate into society.
She really got my hopes up making that sort of noise.
Well, my optimism didn’t last long.
In the theoretical world, anything is possible. But in the real world, people go hungry.
I guess I mean, I just can’t figure out how drawing leaves in a biology lab adds up to being a “better person.”
We have to spend more money here at the program to accommodate the “air time,” sure, but I could only imagine what they do at the maximum security prisons like Yale and Harvard.
Well, I opened my mouth about it, and the warden gave me some diesel therapy as a result.
I thought then about how life on the inside is completely different than on the outside. You get a cell phone plan. Who cares if you don’t use all your minutes at the end of the semester, you feel me?
Whenever I got back from diesel therapy, the warden bum added an extra semester to my sentence to “make up the hours” I didn’t use on my cell phone plan.
Abby suggested to work for the warden to bargain off that extra time but, nah, can’t do that.
I’d go nuts thinking about all the dry snitching and kitty scamming going down.
I’d have to get whacked out on so much bug juice to get by and so much brake fluid to balance out that I’d never pay off the double up.
I just wanna be, you know Mr. Sunshine Deathray? I just wanna be.
I feel really confused on the policies and awkwardly pressured here at Ole Miss to be down with all these deals I ain’t too friendly with.
I ain’t got a beef with those that are into it, you know it’s their choices and all.
But why do their choices and outlooks have to become my choices here at the prison? Merely by association, I have to lie with a skip and a cheer about their deals?
I thought I was free. But then again no one’s free in prison; some just have more privileges than others.
Daniel Purdy is an English senior from Oxford.