Books, Blowjobs, Methadone, and the Internet, for Johnny

It was Johnny's birthday the other day. This birthday is also the 10th one he's "celebrated" since his incarceration. I normally send him a package of pictures, but we've been a little distant and he's been on lock down (no visits, no legal phone calls, limited access to packages) so instead, I wrote him a letter offering him a birthday present.

*Hint*

I mention his present in the title of this post and even though I can't get him any of the other things I mention, I'm sure he can find it on the inside.

I hope he gets a bit of everything.

*****

(birthday wishes)...

My guy. What’s good? I heard you're on lock down! A whole year, huh? That’s harsh. I wonder what you did this time, but I’m hesitant to find out. I know I won’t approve and at the same time, I know times are tough. Desperate times. Desperate measures. Do you my guy. Just be safe.

When I was younger, I kept a windows doc. full of quotes. I wanted to remember all the significant things people said to me. I wanted to remember the insignificant ones too. I saw the beauty of documentation. In that beauty I found motivation which allowed me to develop determination. 18 pages on a word doc of one or two sentence quotes. I swore everything meant something. Perhaps I was just young and looking. I still feel young, but am I not looking? Or am I not young and still looking? What’s wrong with me brother? What changed from then till now? What happened to the determination I forged from the motivation I discovered in the beauty of documentation?

Lately, I find it so bothersome to document anything. Everybody documents everything. And even if you disagree, bet your not-so-virgin asshole that NSA watches everyone. Life on the outside is annoyingly noisy and whereas I used to find joy in writing and documenting life as I was experiencing it, I now find sharing and marketing myself online numbing to the senses. It seems so much like a competition. Who’s living a better life? Who said what to who? Who wore what and did what, where? Are you funny? Do you got big tits? What’s your web presence like?

Really? What’s your REAL LIFE presence like? Are you really here with me? Do you look at me when I talk to you? Do you hear me when I touch you? Do you feel me when I see you? I find social media exhausting and borderline unhealthy. I’m legitimately afraid of NSA monitoring my “digital footprint”. Yet, I know in today’s world, not participating means I’m being a bit of a recluse. My homeboy joked off hand once, “[Our friend] Mike’s probably dead. He posts on Instagram probably once a month."

I’ve probably posted once in the past 6 months.

I sure don't feel dead.

Should I?

But I digress. A lack of participation serves no one. Fear of government is worse than fear of terrorism. One must live bravely and living bravely does not mean that fear is absent. It means that one acknowledges the presence of something greater than the consequences of fear.

So here I am again. You and I have our reasons for not talking between us and your lockdown. These past couple of months have been distant. In the same vein, I guess the internet and I have our reasons for not talking between the NSA and apathy. These past couple of months have been distant.

But I’m back for you and I’m not leaving. I’ll be here till you or I die. And my fears of documentation? Well, as far as I can tell the internet isn’t going away. If that’s what it’s there for, I might as well as use it.

In the past month, I’ve read three fascinating books.

- The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini

- Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg

- The Truth by Neil Strauss

I wonder, do you share books in prison? I know there’s a drug-trade and perhaps even a sex trade, but how about a book in there? If a methadone pill is worth $100 dollars and a blowjob is worth $50, what’s a book worth?

The Kite Runner takes place in 1970’s Afghanistan and follows the relationship between a young boy from a rich family, and a boy his age who’s the family servant’s son. Fate pulls them apart and as serendipitous as fate may be, it pulls them back together. The main character is wonderfully flawed and the story is artfully written. I think it’s the type of book you can read and re-read over and over again because of its warmth and if a book is worth a methadone pill, you'll be comfortably numb after this one.

I read Marshall B. Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication and perhaps it's a little too early to tell, but I think it changed my life. He posits that man’s natural state is one of nonviolence and compassion, and throughout our lives we develop defense mechanisms that lead us away from our natural state of compassion. He says that all negative emotions are the result of unmet needs and when one feels a negative emotion (e.g. anger, sadness, frustration) we are drawn away from our natural state of compassion. In order to return to our natural state, we must ask ourselves, “what do I need right now?” He has identified a seemingly awkward, yet magnificently effective way to communicate nonviolently and instead of persuasion through guilt, one ends up communicating with emotion and mindfulness that leads us back to our original state of compassion. After reading thisI became acutely aware of how inept I am (and society as a whole too) at truly expressing emotions. It’s the type of book I read and will reread over and over again. If I get good at it, I'm sure I'll be able to keep Gina happy, and in turn I'll lock down blow jobs for life!

The most recent book I read was The Truth by Neil Strauss ... It's awesome. Paired with Nonviolent Communication, it turned my world upside down. “The Truth” is about the author’s journey to monogamy, which entertainingly so, goes through a lot of polyamory. He’s so straightforward, detailed, and forthcoming. The book starts off with him checking himself into sex rehab for cheating on his girlfriend. The rest of the book covers his path through rehab, polyamory, and eventually, monogamy. You know I studied psychology in school and his account of rehab is so detailed you find yourself committing the number one taboo of psychology: Do not self-diagnose.

It’s the type of book that gives you hope and if you're lucky, and books are worth something in prison, maybe it'll get you a blowjob.

Let me know which one of these books you’re interested in. I’ll send you one for your birthday. They’ll be great books, and if books are used like currency in prison, it’ll be worth some pruno or methadone for sure. Maybe even some "female" companionship. If you’re lucky, they might even change your life.

Happy Birthday Johnny.

...

Love,

Jacobs

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