Here’s the thing about prison — you never know what to expect. Your best friend might be moved to another prison in the middle of the night, without you even having a chance to say goodbye. Or you might discover that your favorite showerhead has been ripped down by an angry old man. The prison might get locked down at 2:11 on an otherwise typical Tuesday afternoon. The power might go out in the middle of dinner, and you’re forced to eat in a pitch-black chow hall, with guards’ flashlights as the only source of illumination. Or a fight might erupt just a foot away from you, and your face gets smothered in pepper spray before you even have a chance to blink. But every now and then, something good happens, unexpectedly Something completely out of the ordinary.
On Tuesday morning, I went to the office to pick up my mail. There was a piece of typing paper, folded in half, stapled at the bottom, with “Newman #90843 B2” written on one side, in purple pen. What could this be? The last time I received a personal note like this was from the laundry officer, telling me I had too many pairs of socks and I needed to return three pairs immediately or else disciplinary action would be taken. But this time, the note was much more delicious. It read:
A+ Pizza Party!!
Congratulations! You have been selected to come to the school’s A+ Pizza Party because you have exhibited an excellent learning attitue, excellent attendance, and excellent academic achievement. Plus, you’ve been DOR-free for six months or more.
The party will be held January 11, 2018, from 1200-1300 in the school. Come relax, enjoy a couple pieces of pizza and some soda, and celebrate being a great student! See you there!
In the ten years I’ve been in prison, this will be my very first pizza party. For most of you, pizza is just another meal, a part of life. But prison has the ability to turn the mundane into something spectacular. It continues to teach me a much greater appreciation for life’s simple pleasures.
Categories: Stephen Newman