Like I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve a lot of things working against me that are basically out of my control. Like, the way I talk, and even my voice. The glasses provided by the MDOC would make Brad Pitt look like a sex offender allergic to consent.
And then there are smaller things revealed in conversations that betray my educated, upper-middle class background, to which my current environment is totally alien. (Forreal, I bet I was the only person from my zip code in the last decade to be sentenced to prison.) A lot of guys that have come to know me dog me about it here and there. And then sometimes I invite it upon myself.
Case in point: walking to chow the other day, I was bullshitting with some guys about what’s been on TV and the movies airing on the institutional channel. I excitedly related how the Lord of the Rings trilogy was playing that day. Johnnie Dabs went on about the Harry Potter marathon playing that weekend, in keeping with the fantasy genre.
“Yeah, I’ve only seen the first three, but I like them. Maybe I’ll watch the rest of em this weekend. Are they that good?” he went on.
The other guy walking with us assented, adding that he’d had only watched the first one.
Forgetting myself for a second, I was dumbstruck they’d neither watched nor read Harry Potter.
“For real? You guys have never watched Harry Potter?! Geez, that’s like our generation’s Star Wars…” I blurted. Then, my lips curling into sly smile, I added, “You guys are such fucking Muggles.”
It was a sad attempt at mock-dissing, and I guffawed to cover the silence greeting my “insult”, half out of embarrassment..that silence lingered for a few more seconds before John goes, “damn, Pete, sometimes you say shit that I don’t even know…ya know”
They erupted in laughter at my incorrigible nerdiness. “Dude, there are guys that’d prolly fuck you up if you said to them,” the other guy piped in, to both their amusement.
Alright, lesson learned: insulting someone as a Muggle in prison, even in self-deprecatory irony, doesn’t quite land like it used to in my old milieu. I’ll have to randomly swing on someone just to make up all the street cred I lost.