Sunday, January 31, 2010


It's our favorite time of the year. Winter. When as soon as the first flake of snow is detected in the sky half of every shift calls in sick or stuck.

I have known a few people who called in because of the snow who lived less than a mile away from the prison. I offered to go and personally drag them to work, but so far the upper management has seen fit to decline my generous offer.


It's also the time of year when they employ tons and tons of "traction enhancement material" all over the sidewalks of the prison. In a normal world, this would consist of rock salt or even sand. The State, in it's infinite wisdom, uses this ridiculous mix of small gravel (containing a few large rocks) and some sort of ash that has the consistency of powdered lead and containing one granule of rock salt per ten pounds of cinders.

When this concoction is spread upon an icy patch of sidewalk, the gravel is immediately picked up in everyones' shoe treads and carried into the house and the cinders become a slippery sticky grey paste that splashes up onto your pant legs and makes the whole place look like the Toutle River valley right after Mt. St. Helens erupted.

For the next several months every surface or every floor in the institution will be covered in a grey patina of ash, cinders, and small rocks. The wheels on many desk chairs will be ground down to nothing by rolling over the gravel left by careless feet. The entire place will be covered in grey crud and every single person will crunch when they walk.

Of course, they won't spread a gram of this mess out in the parking lot, where sometimes it takes you half an hour just to get out of your parking space.

But it will be flung with reckless abandon just outside of every housing unit where it will all be tracked back inside within an hour.

I don't know what the grey stuff is. They call it "cinders".

I probably don't want to know what it really is.

I'm proposing building a huge parabolic mirror to focus the suns rays and blast away the ice and snow all over the camp. I'll even offer to man it now and then.

But if you are walking across the yard and see the big beam of light coming in your direction.....

I suggest you run.

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