I have no tattoos, no piercings, I don’t have a shaved head, and I’m not sure that I’ve ever actually seen my abs. I’ve never smoked a cigarette, and my experience with drugs is limited to some occasional Ibuprofen. It’s blatantly obvious that I’m not a professional bad boy; I’d stick out like a sore thumb next to Vin Diesel or Adam Levine.
A decade ago I thought I had the perfect life. I founded a successful online retail business, owned an expensive home near San Francisco, vacationed frequently, ate Mexican food regularly, and snuggled with my wife on the couch after work, eating veggie burgers and watching Lost or American Idol. She’d count her tips from the salon while Daniella would beg for her 4-mile walk through suburbia. “Do you want to go on a walk?” we’d ask. She’d whine and spin maniacally. Translation: “yes I do.”
But things weren’t as perfect as they seemed. Ultimately, stress led me down a dark path of Internet addiction and sex. I started making bad choices. “15 years” the Judge said. I’ve done 9.
I’ve learned how to be a mellow, college-educated, drug-free, tattoo-less man in an institution of testosterone-fueled violent criminals. You’ll see them in a profile near mine. They’re flexing to show off their muscles, to prove how tough they are.
I survive… on a top bunk, my pillow directly above the toilet. My cellmate is a superhero-obsessed penny-pincher with a healthy dose of Asperger’s syndrome. I read, blog, watch TV, take treatment classes, play chess, and write the prison newsletter. More than anything, I’d like a penpal from the “real world” to bring some normality into my life. (My cellmate says only a crazy person would write an inmate, but I disagree).