The Phantastic Neural-Penal TranslatorWhile I suspect that many readers might have assumed that the whole shtick with contrasting Parkinson’s and a life sentence in the Big House was just that, a shtick, it wasn’t, (at least by the end of the investigation). I was really counting on this piece to stand on its own as a hard-hitting number - like something that the CBC’s Fifth Estate would punch out. At this point, it was about as hard-hitting as a body shot from one of my elderly brothers.
Struggling, I revisited some of my earlier sources to see if there were any updates I could tap into. I checked my forum account at meetAnInmate.com. My posting: "former beauty queen seeks platonic information gathering sessions on prison life" had gotten so many replies that I cancelled the posting. I have found out that the visitors center was an open set up and not behind glass. I doubted I would survive the pummelling for my postings stretching of the truth.
I had reviewed an excellent article: “50 Slang Words To Make You Seem Like a Tough Guy in Prison” and immediately recognized half of them from my youth. I called up a few of my siblings and tried some of the remaining words. It seemed to work effectively - they still kept their distance.
I had even listened to Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues. A few movie marathons later, including Escape from Alcatraz, Cool Hand Luke, the Longest Yard, etc. and I had my thesis: that Prison Guards and Neurologists were in cahoots. While my resources didn't allow an in-depth investigation, what we uncovered was certainly enough to call in the good people a The CBC's Fifth Estate.
I'll assume you're familiar with the standard (studio mandated) opening scene where the new inmate (with the Houdini-like abilities to escape) is read the riot act by the Warden. It struck me how much the Warden/Prisoner intake dialogue resembled the Neurologist/Patient intake dialogue. So much so, that I began to think like a conspiracy theorist. And that's just, well, dangerous :-) I didn't have any particular conspiracy in mind. And that's just, well, worse.
|Neural - Penal Translater|
|I see you have a history of escapes, assaults, and you are a real shit disturber - Care to comment?
||I understand you ask a lot of questions|
|From now on you’ll breathe when I say to breathe, you'll eat when I say to eat, and you'll crap when I say to crap. Got it?||This is Sinemet. From now on you will take it at 5am, 9am, 1pm, 5pm, and 9 pm|
|No one has ever escaped from this prison||There is no cure for Parkinson's|
|Here at Alcatraz, I deal with prisoners cannot be reformed||Here at the Clinic we work with neurodegenerative diseases that will not get better, they will worsen over time|
|Your ass is mine from now until, oh yeah… LIFE!||I will see you after six months from now till neurodegeneternity!|
Yes, I'm not the only one taken aback by the brazen statement of facts and the unapologetic presentation of an unpleasant reality. I don't think it's a stretch to wonder whether the two of them went to the same school - but seriously, you want me to suggest that their programs were barely differentiated? That’s pretty bold stuff. I’ll go with it.
Signs your neurologist may be moonlighting at the local penitentiary:
- They suggest “corporal punishment” as a new experimental treatment for Parkinson’s
- They begin to accessorize with Kevlar.
- They threaten that if they get one more call from the pharmacy to refill your prescription you’ll be going to the “hole” for six weeks
- When questioning you about your exercise levels, they asked how much time you’ve been getting in the “yard” lately.
- They never turn their back on you anymore
Note: no doubt you have noticed the photo to the right. Yes, that is YOUR Neurologist Dr Degenerate! One of our alert readers sent this in to me. I struggled briefly with my journalistic responsibilities. Extremely briefly, as if I had any, I was unaware of what they were anyways. Do note, your neurologist has not broken any laws (at least in the photo). I do share your concern over his ability to function at a professional level at your appointments the next morning. I for one, would not feel good entrusting the counting of my toe taps to someone who has been fawning over Vinny "SmartyPants" Malone.
Vinny, aka "SmartyPants"So you’ve met the Warden. Now it’s time to take a stroll down to cell block B where you will meet he guy who can really get things done. Let’s introduce you to Vinny in B-6. Vinny is the guy who can get you absolutely anything. Need a nail file for your (ahem…) . nails? Vinny can get one for you. Need to get a valentines card to the Warden’s wife? He can take care of that as well. Need to get a set of floor plans for the prison? Done!
Vinny’s smart, real smart. There should be no mystery why they call him “SmartyPants”. Vinny knows his game well. He knows the posted rules, and he knows the real rules. He knows his needs, his suppliers, and his market, all, very, very, well. Vinny is a master of his limited domain. In the big house, he knows what is beyond his control, what he can control, and when he can attempt to influence. You and I can learn a whole lot from Vinny.
If I was half as sharp as Vinny, I would sit down and sketch out all of the things I can either control, or influence. Vinny, being the sharp, resourceful fellow he is, would then look for gaps and inefficiencies and would seek out the best people he can find for his team. They may have a rap sheet a mile-long, but they would be the best he could find. Are you bold enough to ask for the best?
So now you've learned a bit about prison life, you've met the Warden, Vinny, and maybe gained a little insight into why your Neurologist is incessantly yawning. Our final instalment looks at the concept of hope, why I don't believe in it - and what strategies and secret weapons I possess to help me through to the finish line.
Next: Final Instalment - The Hopeless Optimist