I remember one time not long ago when I got shackled and locked up (for the umpteenth time) for a dirty dick. To say that my judgment and self-control were lacking is like saying that I’m a piece of shit (a big understatement). When an unfortunate soul is on parole or work release and “accidentally” uses a little bit of drugs, it’s a monumental, life-altering mistake. I’ve always suffered from an unfortunate condition that my father used to call “the Superman Bulletproof” problem, meaning I never think I’ll get caught. I reckon he might have suffered from something similar once upon a time but snapped out of it and grew up while I languish. I think part of the reason my father has always loved me unconditionally through my dozens of MEGAHUGE fuckups is that he kinda liked having a tough kid with an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude, but hot damn have the positive parts of that attribute been obliterated by the overwhelming pain it has caused.
Before I pissed dirty, my dad had been pleading with me to please absolutely 100 percent always follow the dozens of strict rules parole had placed upon me and told me to consider the difference between courage and toughness. It was a Bo Shembechler moment for him—he basically asked me to man the fuck up. He knows I’m tough and I deal with whatever comes my way and like to say dumb shit (like, “Rules are stupid”), but he just wants me to develop the courage to simply suck it up and follow the rules for a while so I can get my life back.
Before the drug test, I had of course been drinking gallons of water in a futile attempt to flush out the pills I had taken. No dice! They slapped the cuffs on me then and there and took me to jail. There was an old acquaintance next to me in the back of the car who also pissed dirty and had also attempted to flush his system to no avail. He was losin’ it while we were stuck in traffic, going insane with the need to piss. He was doubled over in pain and I’m thinking “What a silly chap; only little girls have to pee like that. Get ahold of yourself!” Eventually, he pissed himself—luckily it was all water and didn’t really stink. About 30 minutes later we’re in line outside the jail waiting to get booked and I’m doubled over in pain feeling like a screwdriver got stuck in my dick. I don’t ever remember being in pain from having to piss so bad. (I do remember shitting my pants during a piss test a couple times, though.) Jail is humiliating, shaming, and humbling in so many ways. Waiting in that line, I said to myself endless times “I’m not going to make it.” and my parole office was nice enough to small talk me to keep my mind off the pain of having to piss and the fact that I was going back to jail when I should be frolicking and enjoying my freedom. Meanwhile, the pissy pants guy next to me was silently dejected, thinking about spending Christmas in jail and the soiled boxers that he’d be stuck wearing for the next week or so, since jails don’t give out the whites without a face.
I’d never been happier to relieve myself in a jailhouse bullpen full of dirty men. I pissed for about five minutes and felt great. Then I finished and looked around like, “Fuck worrying about going to hell… I’m already in hell.” I struck up a conversation with the only other white gent in the room and he way too openly admitted that his reason for being in jail was fuckin’ his older brother in the ass while he was passed out drunk… Sometimes it’s really hard to be white in jail, when the only other white guys around are in for shit like that.
I sat there with unpleasant reality setting in—I ruined everything again. It was way too late, the damage was done. Now I had to spend weeks or months replaying the unwise choices I made to end up back in jail. I hated myself and a lot of me wanted to die. I felt unworthy of love and I reflected on how I cause so much misery that it just doesn’t seem worth it to live, but I fought through it somehow and dreamt of a brighter future. I pray I finish parole soon, but I probably won’t. I’ve made a million promises and broken them all. It’s an all-too-familiar reality that’s the result of my disease… the disease of dumbness.
Bert Burykill is the pseudonym of our prison correspondent, who has spent time in a number of prisons in New York State. He tweets here.
Previously - 'Ruff Buttlove' and Other Prison Raps