Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My First Time in City Jail

And you should see the bruise I have to show for it.

It's front and center on my right thigh, about the size of an egg with a purple outside and two yellow splotches inside.

It was a raised knot of a bruise for the first couple of days, but now it just hurts to roll over on it in bed, if that gives you any idea.

And all because I was upholding the Constitution.

Like thousands of other unemployed citizens, I'm doing work for the Census Bureau right now, which has not involved going house to house.

Instead, my crew and I are assigned to group locations, like nursing homes, dorms, shelters and, yes, the City Jail.

I thought I'd be in the majority when I blithely made the comment going through security that it was my first time in jail.

Either people had been there to help out a "friend" or they'd been on some wholesome sponsored tour (Girl Scout, school, Cub Scout) when they were younger.

Yet again, my life experience put me in the minority; luckily I'm used to that.

After two days spent at the jail transcribing information about inmates onto Census forms, all I can say is, parents, please think twice before naming your newborn.

What chance does a child have when his given name is Hitler? Or Demon? Or even Lovely?

I made a comment about poor name choices to the Lt. Colonel who was my contact person at the jail and he told me about an inmate they'd had named Marijuana.

"I started to ask if he had brothers named Cocaine and Heroin, but I honestly didn't want to know," he said in a resigned voice.

The process of cataloguing almost 1500 inmates (in, it should be noted, a facility meant to hold 800) was tedious but not particularly painful until the very end.

As I was gathering up all the data we had collected, I made a sudden move to grab a sliding pile of papers.

Immediately, my thigh collided with the keyboard tray on the table at which I was working.

It was just a thin piece of metal projecting out a couple of inches, but I was in full-steam-ahead mode, eager to be finished and escape the basement of the City Jail.

I wish I had a juicier story to explain my jail bruise, but that's the best I've got.

I like to think that I took one for the Constitution, but really all I did was mess up my leg at the start of shorts season.

Let's hope it goes away quickly.


  1. Ouch. Never make sudden moves in jail, I guess.

    I once played a basketball game in the Missouri State Pen with some fraternity brothers, at the the invitation of the prisoners (played the "B" team; the "A" team would have killed us.) Nervous going in, but it was one of the cleanest, best-refereed games I ever played in. Quite an experience to be "inside", even briefly.

  2. There was a story about Marijuana back in 2008 when he got shot. You'll never guess what his nickname was...

  3. JB: No sudden moves and hopefully, no more jail time, either.

    JM: I was hoping for "Weed."