Saturday, 14 June 2014

Looking for Vinny - Parkinson's For Life Without Parole

Usted no me Dijo el Tío es Una Leyenda Del Café?

“Quad Espresso!" the Barrista shouted, giving me a short reprieve from the interrogation I was about to undergo by Shemp, an ex-con. I leapt up, enjoying the notoriety (imagined or not) that ordering such a hi-octane drink would bring. I made eye contact with a few of the regulars, accepting their likely feigned admiration. I raised the necter to my lips, glanced off into the distance, and in my best Juan Valdez accent offered, "nuez, adecegrita, yaque domina la crema" (nutty, suitably bold as it dominates the cream) My disciples nodded in agreement, as the Barrista rolled  his eyes. Good god, They still think I'm Columbian ;)
Shemp and I had crossed paths about 12 minutes earlier outside the coffee shop. He had been panhandling, I, doing a blog entry that contrasted living with Parkinson's to a life sentence of incarceration, was looking for someone with real life correctional experience. Shemp was my man. A free lunch in return for one hour of "Life In the Big House For Dummies."

I wracked my brain for any personal anecdote that might convince him that I was just a little bit less like Howdy Doody and a shade more like Clint Eastwood. Someone once told me that everyone should have at least a minor skirmish with the law. I think the thought was that if you were just one more stupid comment away from charges, it was some indication that you were at least willing to stand up or yourself. I would suggest that the addition of the adjective "stupid"
was maybe a sign that this was a bit less about logic and more about a boiled down explanation of how we actually fill our remaining rooms in incarceration.

I thought I would test him with this one. After a few minutes of conversation, I would wait until the first pregnant pause, look at him with an expression appropriate for a "we got business to do" situation... (of course, I would first need to locate that look in my repertoire), then I would ask him "can you be trusted?" At that point, I'm guessing that he would either strangle me with his bare hands, or he would be ready to do business. I would look at him, pause, and whisper "last week, Monday - I killed a man, with kindness. At that point, depending on his reaction and demeanour, I would either bolt for the door, or really bolt for the door…

I was striding back to the table when I realized that you can take the con out of Millhaven Pen but you can't take…. The grub had arrived, and Shemp's latent penal instincts had kicked into high gear. He had assumed the Emily Post approved correctional dining position - crowding the  plate, arms protecting either flank, shanked left and right with the business end up. That’s right, Shemp ate his meal with two knives. Frankly, it scared the shit out of me just to sit at the same table as a double-shanked Shemp...
I let out a next to silent groan. I managed to coerce one of the few remaining loyal cells in my substantia nigra to help out with some movement, cracking open an eyelid. Ahh - Starbucks, fantabulous. I slowly raised my head off the table, self checking whether I had violated any coffee culture norms. Ok there. A swizzle stick - stuck to my cheek, fell to the table. Shemp,  I muttered…?

 No sign of Shemp. I checked my Starbucks receipt to see if there had been any charges on it - other than my regular quad. None. Was Shemp one big apparition? Quite possibly. I had been warned about "extremely vivid" dreams as a side effect of one of my medications. I got up to go and splash some water on my face when I noticed a napkin on the other side of the table wadded up into the tightest ball you could imagine. On the back of the napkin, was written my working title for the blog entry but not in my writing:

"Once you accept that you are not in control,
you are in control...

Family feud, Unjustly Detained, The Lost years...

Occasionally I will chat with someone contrasting life with Parkinson’s with incarceration, particularly with the concept of a life sentence without parole. Most are uncomfortable laughing at Parkinson’s to begin with, even if I take the lead - c’mon, it’s safe, follow me …. (the ice is thick enough!). I appreciate the thoughtfulness involved, but do wish I could have more belly laughs with others about it. Some disagree with the characterization of Parkinson’s as a life sentence, while others question my knowledge or first-hand experience with the penal system to make a valid case.
For your information, I am eminently qualified to make this comparison. I have watched every epis0de of Prison Break (80),  I survived as a sibling detainee in my youth,   I have toured Alcatraz, and most importantly, I, myself, have done time in the Big House.
Hell hath no fury like a sibling who will one day write a blog
Sadly, the photo to the right can be reduced to yet another tale of brotherly love gone sour, one more example of misuse of RCMP resources by one of its members, (a Sargeant no less), and ultimately, an oh-so- desperate attempt by a brother to knock me down off my favorite son pedestal. (it’s a wonder I can write with such clarity in this thin air).
Cycling through Kimberly, B.C., I was hauled off on an obscure public (in)decency law Kimberly Code 2.6.4  Subsection: Public Indecency and Spandex Cycling that read: “if over 40 years of age, thou shalt not be seen on a bicycle in spandex, unless deemed to be “somewhat hot for their age.”  I took the expedient route and plead guilty. I mean, its not like the sentence was remotely Mandellian in length. (I was out in 20 min.) It’s just that I reject any form of "Hotness profiling".  I know, I know, I could have easily fought it !

Next Week: Part Two starting with The Phantastic Neural-Penal Translator

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