Television just looooves making a big honking deal out of prison—like it's the worst thing in the world or something! HBO's Oz portrayed prison life as a trip through Satan's porno collection; with rapes, beatings, and murders happening with alarming regularity. But I'm here to tell all the kids who read my column, prison ain't so bad! In fact, when you compare it to really horrible things—like root-canal surgery or watching Britney and Kevin: Chaotic—it's actually pretty bearable.
And while my prison time may have been limited to one night in a small-town jail house (on a trumped-up sodomy charge), I think I can honestly relate what prison life is like for thousands of incarcerated inmates. FOR EXAMPLE! Prison TV shows would have you believe that if you're white and weigh under 170 pounds, then you'll become someone's "bitch" after 10 minutes in the joint. NOT TRUE. In fact, for the first six hours of my stay, I didn't even have a cellmate. Then when I did get one, he was more like drunk Otis from The Andy Griffith Show than Charles Manson. I remember asking him, "Can I be your bitch? Can I be your bitch? Can I be your bitch?" until he got really annoyed and screamed, "Why do I need another bitch when I already have a wife?"
"Otis" really hurt my feelings that day. And he hurt Margaret's feelings, too. (That's his wife.)
Prison myth number two: In order to protect oneself from harm in the big house, one must construct a stabby weapon like a "shank" out of a spoon. Again, NOT TRUE. I simply borrowed a letter opener from one of the deputies. But even this was unnecessary! As it turned out, Otis refused to engage me in a "jailhouse shank fight," and remained sound asleep even after I jabbed him in the bottom. See? Even while unconscious Otis is a feelings hurter.
And let's not even talk about hot laundry-room sex! I spent my entire one-day sentence without receiving or administering a single blowjob. That's like a world record for me! (Although I did peg the deputy two weeks later.)
The point is that one should always approach prison with an open mind. Take, for example, this week's most promising debut, Prison Break (Fox, Mon Aug 29, 8 pm). Hunky Michael Scofield gets hot under the collar when his equally hunky brother gets framed for murder and sent to death row. Happily, Michael is a hotshit prison designer, and in order to clear bro's name, he gets himself arrested and begins planning the biggest prison escape ever!
Like a cross between 24, Lost, and The Great Escape, Prison Break is an exciting, fast-paced puzzle that reveals a new and shocking secret every week. And while there will probably be the occasional shank fight and anal rape, the producers promise a more realistic look at prison life. So far, Prison Break is THE "buzz show" of the new season—so don't miss it! And if you ever find yourself in prison, I hope Otis isn't your cellmate. If "hurting feelings" were a capital offense, this guy would get the chair.