Monday, January 26, 2009

When I Grow Up....

"Daddy, when I grow up, I want to work in a prison, just like you!"

I've never heard that.

And hopefully I never will.

I wonder if anyone has ever heard that phrase.

Gawd, I hope not.

I think I'd lose my cool.

My only child still living at home wants to be a forensic scientist. I think it comes from us watching too much "CSI". But she's fascinated with the idea and is planning her college years towards that aim. And we've taught her some side skills that will hopefully suit her until she can get a full-time job doing what she wants. I'm pretty proud of her so far, and I don't think that will change anytime soon.

So along with "What makes a good C.O.?" is "What made you do this in the first place?"

Very few people would answer "It's the family business."

For the most part, I think it's the fact that it's steady work. One of my favorite saying is "We'll never run out of stupid people" and that is so true. Unless the place falls down, they are never going to close a prison without building a new one first. And right here we have three prisons within thirty miles of each other, so it's kind of a local industry. It's the reason we moved here. We used to live in a tourist town and were laid off every winter when the place shut down and we had to draw unemployment for three months out of the year. And even though there was big money rolling through the town, very little of it ever filtered down far enough to reach us. It made things kind of tough. Then one year the wifes' nephew called and said "They are building a new prison and hiring people like crazy. You should come up here and apply."

So we did. That's why we're here. I'm not so sure about everyone else. But it's probably much the same. This used to be a big mining community. That's how this little cluster of towns came to be. If it weren't for the stuff in the ground, I'm sure this would still all just be farmland.

Now that the mines are all played out they had to do something for all these people living here.

So they built prisons. And we came and worked them.

So for the most part, that's why we do what we do. Now that it's an established thing, people come for different reasons. We still get the ones who think it would be "cool" to work in a prison. They come in wanting to kick ass and take names. They don't last too long, usually. I've seen them come and go and I can usually pick them out of the groups of newbies coming in.

A friend of mine sent me this in an email the other day:
I often found myself an outcast in school, which resulted in a want for people to like me.
Or a want to know why they didn't like me.
Eventually, I got a job in Corrections as a CO-I, not to encourage this want, or to find people that would like me, but to fight this feeling.
It didn't take long for me to realize, these aren't the kind of people I care about liking me.
Hooray, the baby-raping sado-masochistic, bank robbing, meth user with an eye patch and a club foot likes me.
Who cares.
In some ways, being a CO has helped me some.
Now there are times I think, I don't give two grape sh*ts about what you think of me, my time is more valuable than your opinion of me.

I knew him when he was brand new here and wondered about him. And worried a little. But he's turned into a fine professional officer. Someone I know is going to do the right thing and be there when things go bad. I think he came here for the right reasons.

Why are you doing what you do?


  1. i find myself growing up to be my father more and more.

    And I swore I wouldn't.

    These days i'm training my 9 year old to be a lawyer with a degree in accounting.

    Because it is what I should have done.

  2. Right now, I'm raising kids as a main goal, nothing else matters, they are my top priority. But CSI is cool in my book. If I had my druthers..........that's what I would like to do....looking through microscopes. Although archeology has always called me.

  3. I had so many dreams of what I wanted to be. A best selling author was one of them. Unfortunately, my brain can only stay on task for a paragraph or two at a time. I should write a book for people with OCD.

  4. great blog. MM sent me and I'll be checking in periodically.
    i wanted to be Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan. I know. Then I found a worksheet I did in 5th grade and it said I wanted to "work with computers when I grow up". Which is funny because I never once remember thinking that in my entire childhood. I wanted to be a painter or a writer. I'm a technical writer so I guess the computers thing and the writing thing came to some half-assed sense of fruition.

  5. rubigimlet- Welcome. Anyone who enjoys MM is welcome here. Looking at your pic I can kinda see the Madonna thing going on there. (grin) I wanted to be a writer but this ADD thing makes my wander too much. I need someone behind me with a cattle prod to keep me going in the right direction.