Since my imprisonment, I have come across the most peculiar of people. We’re talking about the criminal under-world, so I am sure you can imagine the various stereotypes that make up the prison population. No matter who I encounter, from every socioeconomic background, I use my unique perception to learn something new and useful. And luckily for me, I get to intuitively survey such destructive scenarios from a distance. Most recently, I was reminded of the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect.
To never underestimate ANYONE, and to avoid becoming prideful or egotistical. You see, from where my cell is situated, I have a clear view of the main corridor in my unit that all 300 inmates must walk by on a daily basis. And in between that lies the dayroom (aka prison living room), which consists of several TVs and tables. Therefore, I have the prison luxury of being able to sit at my desk within my cell, and observe everything that goes on. People watching at its finest.
Since last week, I have been quite mesmerized by the most gangster midget probably known to man. A black male, standing at 4′ 5″, with a full set of gold teeth, and tatted from head to toe. The shotgun he claims to ride around with is bigger than him, and his homies brag about holding him up and out the sunroof of their Cadillac during drivebys.
And for being such a little dude, I was shocked to find out how many women this man had. He was a real life player! Knowing all of this, alo of his buddies from his hometown showed him a lot of respect. Yet, the guys from other parts of the country could never quite take him seriously. They ridiculed him, and were constantly playing jokes on him. For instance, a guy would run up in his cell, grab his stamps and radio, and then place it on top of his light.
Given the light is situated some 8ft up on the wall, he would have to frantically wait until he could find someone willing to get it down. Despite his rough background, and growing up in gang culture, he was trying to control his temper given he was to be releases in a few weeks. He knew if he go into a fight, depending on the severity, it could add a year or more to his sentence. But you can only push people so far.
I observed this first hand just the other day. There I was, sharpening my pencil, when I saw an older individual grab the gangster midgets coffee mug, and hold it in the air while mockingly telling him to jump for it. The second the individual turned around for gratification from his peers, the midget ran up and kicked him in the nuts. As I stopped sharpening my pencil in amusement, I watched as he fell to the ground, with scolding hot coffee showering down upon him.
Letting out a loud shriek as it not only burnt him, but as he felt his nuts launch up into his stomach. With everyone’s eyes and ears not on the fight ensuing, we watched the midget grab the wet floor sign just adjacent to him, and finish him off. Each blow equally painful, and hard to watch. I’m sure you can picture the rest. The midget ended up with an extra year tagged on to his sentence, half of which must be spent in the hole, while his target was hospitalized.
To the average joe, this was just another prison brawl. An odd one at that. However, to me, it was a powerful; reminder to treat everyone with dignity and respect. If that man approached the gangster midget in such a positive way, as I have, he would have learned that he is a supportive, generous and kind individual. Anytime someone was in need, I’ve seen him step in to help. Thus, by embracing an attitude of negativity and indifference to others, you are alienating yourself from success.
Secondly, I was reminded of the dangers of ego. because the gangster midget let his pride get in the way, he got an extra year tacked onto his sentence, and isn’t going home next week. He felt that he had to prove that he was tough, and literally fell straight into their trap of nonsense. Lastly, I observed a clear example of the dangers of underestimating people. The jokester believed the midget was too small to fight back, and felt like he wouldn’t be obligated to try, given he was going home soon. Oh, how painfully wrong he was!