Ex-Cons Share Their Most Pleasant Memories From Prison
Years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who had spent a few years in prison. He was remarkably kind and open about his experience, particularly about the support he had on the inside that he had thus far been unable to replicate on the outside. It was hard not to reflect on that, the immensity of that privilege.
After Redditor Rizkozrout asked the online community, "Ex-convicts of Reddit, what is your most pleasant prison memory?" people shared their stories and opened our eyes even further.
"About 15 years ago..."
About 15 years ago when I was released from prison, I had nothing to my name, only my $40 gate fee. A dear friend of mine on the inside made sure I had clothes, shoes, and a job to go to. Harold, if you're out there, love you, bro.
"Over the following weeks..."
I spent a little over a decade in prison, from the early 90s to the early 2000s.
In the state where I did my time, all of us had to work a semblance of a job inside the compound (kitchen, inside grounds, maintenance, painting, cleaning, etc.). Being in a program of any kind, including education, counted as having a job (and thus had waiting lists to get into). Programs also needed better-educated inmates to work there as clerks and tutors, and these were the sorts of jobs that the smart inmates tended to gravitate towards (involving more hours than a menial job, but cleaner and less distasteful). Often it meant we had access to older computer hardware (no Internet or anything, though).
PC video games occasionally made their way onto the compound, usually brought in by one or another of the freeworlders (i.e. prison workers who were not guards) who had a soft spot for his clerks. My boss in the education classroom where I worked was like this, though he had something of a policy that the only games he would bring in would be education, strategy, or puzzle-oriented - such that if he ever got asked about it, he could say that it was a critical thinking tool that was part of his teaching curriculum.
The happiest day of my prison life was the day that he brought in Myst. I had read articles about it and wanted to play it someday, but never imagined that I'd get to play it before I got out. It was an absolutely groundbreaking game for its time, with beautiful graphics, soothing music, imaginative puzzles, and an intriguing storyline. I had never seen anything like it; the articles/reviews didn't do it justice!
Over the following weeks, I would lose myself in that world for maybe an hour a day, living out an alternate life in a beautiful and magical world so far removed from the horrible reality of my current existence. I was disappointed when it was all finally over... though in a way it led to my second-happiest prison memory, which was the day (a year later) when he brought in Riven: The Sequel to Myst.
Video games can provide an excellent escape...
...and quite a few video games can spur your critical thinking. I can confirm that Myst is excellent.
"It was a low-security prison farm..."
I wasn't your usual inmate. I was in for a truck accident where someone died. First ever offence, no violence, didn't take drugs, very rarely even drank alcohol, never committed a crime in my life. So I was a polar opposite to pretty much everyone in there.
It was a low-security prison farm, and one day I decided to walk along the boundary fence to the library. Going on the wrong side of the fence technically meant that you escaped, so it was watched... As I'm casually wandering along, two guards drove up and told me to get into the car. They took me for a strip search and demanded to know why I was on the other side of the fence. I wasn't. I asked them if they had cameras, and they said yes, so I told them to double-check the footage because I'm not a nitwit trying to escape. They checked, and let me go.
Everyone in the prison wanted details on what happened. I was a minor celebrity for the afternoon, and I had a bit of respect amongst the other inmates because even someone as straight as me copped shit from the screws.
"This kid in my pod..."
This kid in my pod was being transferred to another prison located clear across the state.. he had no clue why they were moving him.
He started crying uncontrollably, which you would think is the last thing you'd wanna do in jail/prison.
All of the inmates in my pod immediately went to console him. He was hugged and made to feel as comfortable as possible.
A heartwarming moment.
It's important to remember that prisoners are people, too.
"I was in solitary..."
I was in solitary for three months and they allowed cd players there. I had only one disc - DMX, Ruff Riders. I listened to it endlessly and somehow it inspired me to write something, too. I started with rhymes and short poetry and 15 years later I own a copywriting agency and writing makes me a living. Peace DMX, inspiring me for change!
DMX would have no doubt appreciated this.Through their work, artists have the ability to make us question and challenge our own lives.
"It was amazing."
Late to the game here, but I did time at Maine Correctional Center for Women. I had some of the best laughs, most questionable food, and met some of the strongest women I'll ever meet in there.
My favorite memory was coming 'home' (back to the center) from work release and our taxi driver asked if we could keep a secret. Four girls all doing bids because we didn't roll on our codefendants. Yes, sir, we can.
He stopped and bought us all banana splits on the ride home. It was amazing.
For me, the best feeling is every time that you are placed on a new unit, or transferred to a new jail/prison, and you see some people that you know and are good with as soon as you get there. Landing on a unit where you know nobody, especially if you aren't from the area and have no mutual friends/acquaintances with anybody is the exact opposite of a pleasant feeling. With nobody to vouch for you, it's going to end up in an altercation half of the time, and the other half it takes a while before people will be comfortable socializing with you due to lack of trust.
"I don't know..."
I don't know if I would say pleasant, but I will say there was a weird comradery and mutual understanding amongst most of the inmates that I've never felt again in the outside world.
"It was so refreshing..."
I would say seeing my son but no child should have to see their parent in prison. So I would say the Friday Buddhist meditation sessions we would have. It was so refreshing to sit with a group and quiet our minds and sit in stillness.
Speak to some former prisoners sometime.
You might learn something valuable. Prison is not what you might see on television; I daresay television shows give us the idea that everyone in prison is out to get each other, but that is far from the truth.
Have some of your own stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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Former Disney Park Actors Describe The Weirdest Experiences They Ever Had While In Character
An undeniable part of the magic that guests experience at many of the Disney parks around the world is the interactions with characters.
Those who post photos of their Disney vacations will almost always include a photo with Mickey and/or Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie, and their human friends like Snow White, Belle, Moana, or villains like Gaston.
It's not that difficult to suspend your disbelief during an encounter with a Disney character.
But spoiler alert, the beloved icons you're putting your arms around and giving hugs are with total strangers who are paid to make you feel special.
Redditors got a chance to discover what it's like for those costumed Disney cast members giving hugs and signing autographs to kids of all ages that they've never met before.
Redditor nvoltage1017 asked:
"Former actors at Disney parks, what’s the weirdest thing that happened to you while you were in character?"
Fluffy Disney characters are appealing to a niche interest in the kink community.
"I was one of the performers for Nick Wilde from Zootopia a few years ago, And if you’re not aware; a large number of people in the furry community find him highly attractive."
"You can just imagine the number of people in that community who flirted with me and/or Judy and whispered some pretty sexual things to us. I think I also had a guy grab Nick’s tie like in that flirty way, we had to get him escorted out of the park."
"The moral of the story is: don’t be inappropriate with the characters, we are real people underneath, and there are legitimate consequences for that kind of behaviour."
Just Plain Goofy
"I was playing Goofy inside a restaurant and I got swarmed Aliens-style by a hoard of <10 kids. Unfortunately while I was playing around with them the inner hood below the mask slipped over my eyes and I was completely blinded. We had assistants around whom we could signal for help by flapping our arms, but the kids had made it a game of attaching themselves Tarzan-like to both my arms and to raise them I would have had to lift 3-4 kids per arm (dangerous even if I'd been strong enough to do that)."
"I found myself blind and completely rooted to the spot, unable to ask for help and with nobody realizing that I was in trouble. I spent like a solid 10-15 minutes in that sort of limbo reflecting on the life decisions that had taken me there until the assistant came over and whispered 'set is over dude' and I finally managed to signal something was wrong."
Things get out of control.
Why They Do It
"I was a 'mouse height' performer at Disney World around 2013. Can unfortunately confirm groping happened from time to time and it was incredibly uncomfortable. We were trained to move away if we could and signal to the character attendants to escort the guest away if it happened. One time some guy thought it appropriate to pick me up completely off the ground in a bear hug. The head pushed back and, because the inside is connected to us with head gear and a chin strap, my neck bent back with it and it hurt like hell."
"Not a weird story, but one of my most memorable guest experiences was meeting a little blind boy as Mickey in Epcot. I gently guided his hands to the soft ears, then the nose, and bow tie and he was laughing and his smile lit up the whole room. I still get emotional thinking about it! Interactions like that made it all worth it to me at the time."
"I dated a girl that played one of the fairies for the Tinkerbell place. Beyond the pretty much daily occurrence of old dads hitting on her (she was 19 at the time) the weirdest thing to happen to her was a woman with a 4yr old little girl was all excited to get a picture with Tinkerbell, who was busy, so my ex volunteered to do pictures and entertain the little girl while they waited."
"The woman was a b*tch about that idea, rudely saying she was here to see Tinkerbell and not 'off-brand' fairies. So just shrugging it off, my ex moved on. A bit later, she hears a commotion and Tinkerbell is obviously upset, and security shows up. Apparently, this woman was Tinkerbell's bio mom and had taken her granddaughter to Disney, just to violate the restraining order against her."
"Disney Jail is a real place."
Trapped In Sick
"I used to work at a different amusement park that featured similar costumed characters. The worst thing I ever heard was the time one of the characters was overcome by heat in 95 degree weather, and vomited inside the suit, splattering the inside of the suit's head with their half-digested lunch."
"They had to walk a long distance back to the dressing rooms breathing the super-heated vomit air the entire way."
Things get violent
That's Just Nuts
"Never was an actor, but when I was a kid at Disney World in the 70s, I watched Chip get into a fist fight with a young 20 something guy. The guys girlfriend wanted him to do a picture with Chip & Dale, but he didn't want to. Chip grabbed him in a head lock and his girlfriend snapped the photo. When Chip let go, the guy came up swinging. Dale had to jump in and break them up, as Chip started swinging back. For a kid of 12, it was awesome!"
Shifts To Avoid
"My ex wife was in the character department at Disney World years ago. She was always getting injured by guests. From macho men wanting to see how strong of a grip Mickey had, to grabbing hold of Donald's bill and yanking really hard. Pulling noses, beaks, ears, etc., can really hurt people."
"Another person was dressed as Daisy duck and got tackled by a guest and knocked out cold. When she recovered, she pressed charges."
"The worst nights for the characters were high school senior nights and the religious group nights. Bunch of unruly teens with little to no supervision. No one wanted to work those shifts. Ever."
Some situations were a bit on the laughable side.
"I was part of the Disney college program and I have my own stories but not as a character. My mom on the other hand, she was a character actor back in the day (60’s or 70’s). They were testing a new headpiece for the seven dwarf costumes in Disneyland and my mom wore one of them out on a march with Snow White. As a Dwarf, your head is inside their hat, their face on their stomach, etc. Being Anaheim, it was really hot that summer day and as they were going around following Snow White a little kid saw my mom “Doc” he ran up to give him/her a hug. As he was hugging Doc, the plastic that made up the face started melting inwards and the child started screaming 'I killed Doc! I killed Doc!' In hysterics. Character handlers rushed my mom/Doc off through one of the secret passages by Pirates and got her out of the costume before the plastic could melt onto her."
"Always thought it was a fun story and curious how much it screwed up that kid."
The Gas Leak
"Not a cast member but either Mickey or Minnie cut a very audible fart while posing with my wife and me. It must've been awful inside that dutch oven of a costume."
"I knew a friend(a guy) who wore Minnie Mouse costume. He told me almost all guys would put their hands around his waist. He wouldn’t dare to talk or else they will hear his manly voice and that might pisses them off."
"Edit: this blows up quickly. I feel I need to let people know that it’s not okay to grope the Disney characters. My friend had introduced me to the people who play them and they are just normal people. All I can tell you is that they will make a disgusting face under the mask and talk sh*t about you later after work."
Disney cast members must've been relieved to some extent when the parks reopened with pandemic measures.
Not only did the Disney park institute mask mandates, but any character also interactions–if there were any at all–were at a safe distance from guests, preventing physical contact.
With normal character interactive procedures now back in place at most Disney parks, always remember to be on your best behavior.
People Break Down Which Practices The United States Needs To Adopt From Other Countries
We can all agree that there is something to appreciate about every country in the world, but there are arguably some countries that appear to have their ducks more consistently and happily in a row than others.
While it would be easy to let pride get in the way and continue to do things the same way, the more productive thing would be to learn from the countries who have figured out a better way to do certain things, whether it's healthcare, food banks, or other services.
Reflecting on the United States, Redditor Blinds**thead asked:
"What is one thing the USA should adopt from some other country?"
Introductions to Alcohol
"Swedish drinking laws. If I remember correctly, you can purchase alcohol below 5% at age 18, and be served liquor in bars (so the bartender can control the amount being served)."
"Seems like a smarter way to introduce kids to alcohol rather than opening the floodgates at 21."
Taxes to Approve
"I've never done them but they seem complicated and stress my parents out, so I just know I'll f**k mine up and end up in stupid jail, lol (laughing out loud)."
"Just send me something to sign, please!"
"A prison system that focuses on rehabilitation instead of punishment. Many countries have been successful with this saving literally billions of dollars and cutting down on crime."
Universal School Lunches
"Universal school lunches. It is embarrassing that we do not have folks cooking lunches for students from scratch and that it is not provided for free to all students."
"Do you want to bring your own lunch? Great, but you can also have the free hot lunch that looks homemade, not pizza squares, canned veggies, a slice of fruit, and 3 oz of milk."
"Kids shouldn't be going into debt for lunch. We're probably wealthy enough that our food waste alone would be sufficient, if captured magically, to feed every kid in the United States three proper meals per day."
"Also walkable cities and above-ground monorail systems."
"Finland has recently ended homelessness by just allowing people to live in small apartments without any preconditions, and four out of five of them make their way back to a stable life."
"It's also cheaper than allowing people to be homeless."
Foster Care Assistance
"It would be nice to also eliminate the fees foster parents pay for general registration, classes, and social services related to fostering or adoption."
"And also eliminate trying to recoup costs by billing parents whose children have been placed in foster care."
Longer Paid Family Leave
"I was SUPER blessed to get 12 weeks fully pay. But that’s not enough time. Putting the emotional aspect aside, I’ve returned to work functioning on four to five hours of sleep a night, and my productivity and cognitive abilities are greatly handicapped."
"My three-month-old son can’t even hold his head up or sit, let alone talk to tell me if anything’s wrong, and he’s placed in the care of someone else from 7:15 am to 5:15 pm. Doesn’t seem healthy for mother or child."
"The fact that our toilets don't have bidets and that at public restrooms the gap between the doors is massive, are both disgusting. Our whole bathroom situation is messed up."
Having a Siesta
"According to Dr. Andrew Huberman, whether you eat lunch or not, everyone requires a rest midday."
Tax Included in the Price
"Man, I had such a hard time with this when I visited America. Maths in my head is not my forte and I’m so used to looking at prices and expecting that to just be the price."
"I don’t get why you wouldn’t just add in the tax to the price. No one wants to do math unnecessarily. I mean, we don’t even tip in Australia so I don’t even need to work that out."
Raising Multilingual Children
"Teaching a foreign language to young students in public schools (ie 5yrs, k-5) when the propensity to learn the language quickly is maximum."
Clean Public Restrooms
"The clean restrooms in Japan were amazing. I never had to clean a toilet seat to put my young kids on it. In the states? Near every time. People here just don’t care about the ‘we’ when it comes to restrooms."
Separate Work and Healthcare
"Decent healthcare that isn't tied to your job. Other countries all over the world have figured out different ways to do this, so why can't we? (I know, corporations own politicians.)"
"I'm not an expert, but I'm guessing it would destabilize a bunch of industries in the near term. But I wonder if long-term, it would create so much new innovation since people would be unafraid to lose their health benefits to leave their stable but s**tty corporate jobs to start new ventures."
Designated Drivers on the Go
"In Japan, there is a service that you can call 24 hours per day that will come with two drivers and one car. One driver drives you and your car home, and the other follows in their car to pick up the driver that took you home with your car. No DUI, etc."
"It's actually really affordable there. No need to get an uber home that night and then an uber back the next day when you are hungover only to find out you have a million parking tickets or your car got towed."
Though there are positives to every country, it would be so cool to see each country be more open-minded about adopting the positives of other countries.
If a country is doing something better than another, the best thing for the citizens would be to take some notes, rather than let their pride do the talking.
Every year, at the end of the Academy Awards, while the auditorium erupts in cheers upon the announcement of the Best Picture winner, as they are somewhat obligated to do, many viewers at home instead shake their heads and raise their eyebrows.
That's if they don't throw popcorn or worse at their TVs.
While those who did so when La La Land was announced as the winner in 2017 would end up getting their revenge in what remains one of the biggest blunders of Oscar history, others are still reeling at some past winners, which they believe were more worthy of a Razzie than an Oscar.
Taste being subjective, plenty of people still find themselves confused by some films which won countless awards, received across-the-board raves, and are considered classics or masterpieces, but they find to be utterly unbearable.
Often finding themselves in an unpopular minority and having to keep their opinion to themselves, similar to Seinfeild's Elaine Benes and her unique disdain for The English Patient.
"Which film that’s universally praised do you find utterly repulsive?"
"My best friend really enjoys movies that make you anxious and uncomfortable like 'Uncut Gems' and 'Good Time', but I firmly do not like those kinds of movies."
"I know it's the point, but i find no joy in the level of discomfort I feel while watching them."
"Some other honorable mentions:"
Not Exactly Authentic
"'The Greatest Showman'."
"Mostly on the grounds that the real P T Barnum was a f*cking monster."- LostMercenary99
"The real John Smith was a f*cking sick bastard and the true events most definitely weren't a love story at all."- CagedKagepocahontas GIFGiphy
Who The "Devil" Was Is Debatable...
"'The Devil Wears Prada'."
"I just wanted everyone in that movie to die in a fire."- PothierM
Tearjerker, Or Sleeping Pill?
"I don't know if it's universally praised but I f*cking hate it."- sara_c907
One Of The All Time Creepiest Shower Scenes...
"Every damn Christmas."
"To be fair I can’t really stand Will Ferrel in general."- cook-isationwill farrel ross geller GIFGiphy
The Title Could Refer To The People Leaving The Theater...
"'Fast and Furious', just a terribly written extremely corny show."- tds542
Fern Gully Did It Better...
"All day long."
'Those blue miserable tw*ts."- akbarkhan666
There Was Bound To Be One...
"I don't know about utterly repulsive, but I have a hard time seeing why everyone loves 'Citizen Kane'."
"And I understand that there was movie making before 'Citizen Kane' and movie making after 'Citizen Kane' such that it informed movie makers going forward as to how it's done, let's say, but after a certain point we, the audience, don't see that anymore, and it's just another movie."
"And then I hear people say well it highlights social hierarchy under capitalism and such, but a lot of movies do that."
"And then there's the twist at the end which is not much of a twist which is the point, I suppose, but the whole thing seemed like a letdown when I finally watched it."
'As a result while a lot of people say it's their number one movie ever or at least in their top 10, it's on my top 10 list of movies not to watch again."- emjayseacitizen kane applause GIFGiphy
Why Not Just Do A Documentary?
"I think it's atrocious how they create hyperreality by over romanticizing the life of a famous person."
"Out of all the awful biopics however, i despise 'Bohemian Rhapsody' the most."
"The scene where the band supposedly invents 'We Will Rock You' on the spot makes my skin crawl."
"How did that movie end up winning so many awards, despite all the plot inaccuracy's and the poor editing."
"It is really beyond me."- Biemolt
Maybe Too Realistic?
'Not utterly repulsive, but I'm in the minority for thinking that 'Nomadland''s Best Picture win was a joke."
"It was barely a movie and relied too much on performance exploitation of actual people for its thin-as-f*ck narrative."
"Honestly, it might be my least favorite BP winner of recent times, yes I'd say that even 'Crash', 'The Artist' and 'Green Book' were better."- SamwisethePoopyButt
Not To Mention That Fake Baby...
"Shameless piece of 'Merican' propaganda, and I couldn't help but laugh at Bradley Cooper's portrayal in the first half hour."- mos_methBradley Cooper Baby GIFGiphy
Truman Capote Would Agree...
"Breakfast at Tiffany's."- LucyVialli
He Did Not Have Them At Hello...
"It was just TOO. DAMN. LONG."
"The 'Show me the money' bit was funny, but it happened early on in the film, and the rest dragged on forever."- Brilliant_Tourist400
We All Know "Moonlight" Was Better...
"'La La Land'."
"The music was utterly forgettable and the plot felt like it was written by a bunch of Hollywood executives jerking each other off."- Aviator506Emma Stone Love GIF by La La LandGiphy
Needless to say, everyone's taste is different, and everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Meaning there's bound to be an argument at the next "movie night" you have with friends over whether to watch Citizen Kane or Spice World.
And you should feel no shame in expressing which movie you want to watch.
Or rather, "what you really, REALLY, want" to watch...
Everyone wishes there was something different about their body.
Smaller nose, longer legs, a different hair or eye color.
There are those, however, whose frustrations with their body are less personal, and more universal.
Finding themselves frustrated less with their own DNA, but with human anatomy in general.
Frustrated by how certain functions work the way they do, and feeling there could be significant improvements in other departments as well.
"What is the biggest design flaw of the human body?"
Would Make A Lot Of People Less Cautious
"Unable to regenerate body parts."
"You lose an arm or a leg, you can't grow a new one."
"We can grow hair and nails forever, but not body parts."- drygnfyre
And Maybe The Whole Childbirth Process While We're At It...
"The size of the average baby head vs the size of the average vagina."- Ruggiard
"The Obstetric Dilemma."
"Basically, the human body isn't built for easy birth."- strykazoidSeason 3 Baby GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy
It Isn't Terribly Practical If You Think About It...
"IMO the whole 'we put food into the only air hole we have and can choke and die if we aren’t careful' thing is a pretty big miss."- el_rico_pavo_real
"Throat has a built in flaw - we breath n swallow food through the same area."- coolguy1793B
A More Direct Route Would Be Helpful
"I like the example of the recurrent laryngeal nerve."
"It runs from the brain to the larynx."
"However, to get there it goes from the brain, down the neck, into the chest, around the aorta and then back up the chest, up the neck and then connects to the larynx."
"That's a massive detour."
"It also means a blow to the chest can damage your ability to talk."- The_Thunder_ChildGiphy
Never Underestimate The Damage Teeth Can Do
"The fact that I sometimes accidentally eat the inside of my mouth."- -Grey_Area-·
He Does Have A Point
"'Nostalgia is the greatest human weakness. Second only to the neck'... -Dwight Schrute
In Plain Sight...
"In our eyes, the blood vessels supplying our photoreceptors are in front of them and therefore in the way of the incoming light."
"Probably not the biggest and there are some good justifications for it being set up this way."
"But it still must be such a pain for the brain constantly having to edit these out when forming our visual experience."- oliwoggleLoop Eyes GIF by Doze StudioGiphy
Maybe Just Every Illness And Ailment?
"My aunt had one when she was 31 and the healthiest person in the world."
"Ran an aerobics class at the Y, just perfect perfect health."
"Went to Pizza Hut with her the night before, next day, massive stroke, almost died, critical surgery, twenty years later she still has trouble speaking."
"There is no reason that should’ve happened."
"Perfectly healthy person damaged for the rest of her life."
"She’s still amazing and lovely and my favorite person but damn is that annoying."- Jibber_Fight
"You can kinda just die at any moment from a brain aneurysm, even if you're perfectly healthy."- mcsteve87
All Our Bones Could Be Stronger...
"For upright walking creatures, why is our head so (relatively) delicate?"
"Trip a single time and you're blinded, have brain damage, bit off your tongue, or lost teeth."- kmn493Episode 15 Pain GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy
They Arguably Also Weren't Built For Stairs...
"Our knees for sure."
"They just weren't built to last past 40 years."- TopShelfCrazy
A Couple More On/Off Switches Would Be Helpful As Well...
"That we cannot delete or sort unwanted/not needed info and memories from our brains."- PickAName616
As the saying goes, "nobody's perfect."
Or rather, "no BODY is perfect."
Otherwise, we'd all stop complaining about aching limbs or worrying about choking or other injuries.