Being a law-abiding citizen shouldn't be that difficult.
As long as people obey the rules, maintain their morals, and avoid making extremely bad decisions, they will never see the walls inside a prison cell.
Unfortunately, people do often break the law and find themselves in the slammer where their contemplations on life choices come a little too late.
But now that they have nowhere to go, what is the wisdom inmates acquire?
Curious to hear what some of those might be, Redditor Max_Fenig asked:
"Former inmates of Reddit, what are some things about prison that people outside wouldn't understand?"
Many speculations about life behind bars are confirmed here.
"how boring it is. you spend your entire time just waiting. waiting for court. waiting for a sentence. waiting to get out. it’s a level of boredom i never want to experience again."
Misery Loves Company
"Starchy food and a lack of dental care."
Waiting In Lines
"Seriously. Between regular prison stuff, it's all just waiting in lines. Picking up commissary? Go wait in line. Doctors appointment? We'll wake you up at 4am so you can go wait in line. (Also, why did the doctors always have to check me out at 4am? One time, they woke me up for medical and for a split sec I didn't know where I was so I just put my hands down my pants and went back to sleep. Guards just laughed and told me to wake my a** up...lol)"
Like A Psych Ward
"No kidding. Your feeling of helplessness is so intense. I sat there thinking I was just a bit down and sad. So now you lock me up and treat me like child and expect me to suddenly be happy? I didn't gain anything from it except learning to keep my sadness to myself and not reach out for help."
"Left the place barely being able to function from my depression to being so drugged up I could barely function. No change in my status to society etc. Just a change in the cause."
Some former inmates miss the established sense of order and the mundanity of life in prison.
Weird Kind Of Freedom
"Sometimes you miss it once you're out."
"There are some days where I just feel defeated by the daily stresses of life, and I remember being able to wake up every day and not really have to worry about a lot of things: I don't have rent or utilities to pay, I don't have to go grocery shopping, I don't have to do yard work, I don't have to keep a schedule of places to be and worry about making sure I have enough time to get from place to place or anything. It was a weird kind of freedom while being extremely un-free."
The School Analogy
"I think this is part of what I miss about being a kid. School was like an optimistic 'prison' in that we were told what to do and when. But that in itself was freeing, because I didn’t have to worry about planning the day, or my life. I didn’t miss out on things bc we all went to the same things. It felt like the guidance we had would make everything turn out okay."
"This is part of what’s difficult about being an adult, that you don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t know if youre making the best choices, you constantly fear missing out on other things while doing anything, you got no guarantee of social interaction with others. People aren’t trusting of you by default, and every first interaction is an attempt to convince people that you’re a good enough person to engage with."
"Someone’s always there to catch you from falling and help you out in school as a kid. As an adult, there’s no safety net, no one’s coming to save you, because you’re on your own."
Going Through The Motions
"Yeah, its so easy once you get used to it. Everything is figured out for you, you got a stable rutine and there are clear rules and bounderies. Also you usually have a tight group of friends that you share everything with."
"I spend a year in the army as a conscript and I was pretty down after it ended, because I had to return to a life of a young man where everything was still so unclear and difficult."
Finding A Community
"Honestly, it's not always so bad. These days there are so many drug addicts in low sec prisons that they sometimes group them together in the same blocks. I was one of them, and everyone was respectful and friendly. When I got there I was in full opiate withdrawal and my cell mates gave me food and comfort to help me get through it. This is not always the case, for sure, but I've dealt with worse people on the outside than when I was locked up."
For the most part, ex-cons believed the reality of life in prison didn't closely reflect Hollywood depictions.
Don't Rock The Boat
"Ex-Con here. One thing about Prison I feel like people don’t understand when I tell them my story is that Prison (at least for me) isn’t entirely like what it is in the media. Yeah sure there is Riots, Yard fights, people get shanked, and there scary dudes who look like they want to kill you but in reality they just look mean and scary as a way to protect themselves. For instance there was this big tough dude who was actually a chill dude and got cigs and stuff for others guys if you treated him right. So in reality if you treat other inmates right and don’t bad mouth anyone then you’ll be fine. Just don’t do the what the 'skinny idiot' did, and that is act all SUPER tough and get in peoples faces because that is what will get you beaten up."
"Prison society is exceptionally polite 99% of the time. Inmates have some of the best manners of anyone you will ever interact with. They hold doors for the next person even if they are far away and have to wait. They say please and thank you. They do not insult each other or show disrespect."
"If you are ever in prison and see inmates acting impolite towards each other, get the f'k out of there. That 1% when it's not polite is extraordinarily violent and dangerous."
"I'll take a different angle on this instead of the usual horror stories, as violent and crazy as it was, there were a lot of good parts too. As someone that has had a pretty chaotic life, having a secure day to day life, employment and lots of trusted friends around me for a few years was really nice."
"There's a certain level of comfort that comes with being surrounded by murderers that you're actually friends with, new inmates come and go but you're tucked away in the long term unit where there's a 3 month waiting list to even apply to transfer in, it really was a very peaceful experience for me."
Based on the majority of what was shared here, it may seem those of us who have never served a sentence have wrongful impressions of life behind bars.
We just have to take their word for it.
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When visiting any foreign country, one should always be familiar with the laws and customs of the land.
After all, what might be generally accepted on your home turf, might be frowned upon, if not illegal, elsewhere.
For that matter, even locals might need a refresher course on what they can and can't do while at home.
A recent Redditor was curious to hear what tourists and locals alike should avoid doing in the USA, leading them to ask:
"In the United States, what should you never do?"
Stay out of the skies!
"Don't fly a drone in Washington, DC."
"The whole D.C. Area is a no fly zone."
"It's a federal offense."
"Just don't do it."- PeytonCarrK
Cops can't be bribed.
"Don't try to bribe cops when you get pulled over."
"I had some Argentinian friends immediately pull out their wallets and start pooling their cash when they got pulled over once.'
"Fortunately someone in the car noticed and told them to put it away immediately."- PeytonCarrK
"Don't pay off the police."
"My dad has friends from several third-world nations where it is common practice to give the police some cash when you are pulled over."
"However, if you try to bribe a police officer here, you'll get into a lot of trouble."- JohnASmiley
Know your rights.
"Everyone, including foreigners, has the right to be silent and have a lawyer when being questioned."
"Don’t say anything."
"Also, even if you speak English fairly well, ask for an interpreter."- WickedLilThing
Enjoy all that nature has to offer... carefully!
"Don't wander off in the national parks."
"It's very real wilderness and you can get lost and die out there."
"This includes going over railings you aren't supposed to, or off trails."
"People have died accidentally falling into a steam geyser that looked like normal water, mauled by animals or left to the elements."- AlphaOhmeganational parks GIF by Visit The USAGiphy
Allow plenty of time!
"Expect consistency at TSA in airports."- WickedLilThing
Some terminology doesn't translate...
"If you’re from England, they’re called cigarettes here."- Yung_Onions
Make sure your license is up to date.
"If you come from a walkable country don’t come here expecting the same."
"There are some areas with good public transportation and bicycle/pedestrian friendly streets but for the most part, especially outside of cities, the areas are designed to accommodate cars more than anything else."
"The reason a lot of Americans drive everywhere is because, depending on where you live, we have no choice."- The_Cars93Dog Driving GIFGiphy
Wait for instructions.
"Get out of your car and approach the cop when being stopped by a cop unless told to."- hildrash
Whether your'e waling down a street in a foreign country, or the street you've lived on for your entire life, it's always wise to be on guard and aware of your surroundings.
Not to mention, obey the law.
Who doesn't love a good joke?
And one needn't be a professional comedian to always have a joke in their back pocket to make people laugh.
Particularly as there are certain types of jokes which are almost always guaranteed to elicit at least a tiny chuckle.
They could be knock-knock jokes, "little johnny" jokes, and of course the "yo mamma" jokes.
Though always teetering on the boundaries of good taste, the possibilities of jokingly insulting the mother of a friend, or foe, are endless, and more often than not, hilarious.
Redditor nobody-and-68-others was eager to hear the funniest "you mamma" jokes people have ever heard, leading them to ask:
"What are the best “Yo mama” jokes you got?"
Yo mamma's so fat...
"yo mamma so fat she wakes up in sections."- LolCoca
"Yo mama so fat when I had a threesome with her I never met the other guy."- 1nzlocky
"Your mama so fat, her memory foam mattress wish it could forget."- cuirboyFat GIFGiphy
...How fat Is she?
"Yo mama's so fat she outweighs the needs of the many."- BenefitsCustardbatch·
"Yo mama’s so fat that every time she turns around, it’s her birthday."- Amphibutter·
Yo mamma's so ugly...
'Yo mama so ugly, criminals break into her house just to close the curtains."- Cap_the_pro
"Yo mama so ugly your dad wakes up with morning wouldn't."- lukeedbnash
"Yo mama so ugly, her portraits hang themselves."- SolHalcyonthe emperors new groove hangover GIFGiphy
This could have so many meanings...
"The earth was flat until they buried yo mama."- jaymo54
Fat AND Ugly?
"Yo mama so fat, when she goes on a diet, the stock market drops."
"Yo mama so ugly, she threw a boomerang and it refused to come back."- SophisticatedOtaku
Needless to say, not all jokes are to everyone's taste.
Something to keep in mind when sharing these jokes with others.
Particularly with, "yo mamma", or anyone else's...
Societal norms gradually change over time, and it's not until a generation looks back and notices just how far they've come.
One of the major differences people from earlier generations find fascinating is how things were much more rigid compared to current times.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor FCFSDeals asked:
"What’s now weirdly acceptable in 2022 that was not acceptable growing up in your generation?"
Prior to cellphones, calling protocol was vastly different once upon a time.
Answering The Call
"Not answering the phone. When we only had landline phones (yes long time ago), there was no ringing phone that went unanswered. Now we screen or just plain ignore calls until we are good and ready to deal with it."
"Also, no one expected to reach you at any time, 24-7. I miss those days."
"But there was phone etiquette: no solicitation calls; no polls; and nobody called after 9PM unless someone was in jail or the hospital."
Appearance guidelines seemed to have shifted between generations.
"People have already said tattoos, but body piercings also exploded in popularity. It used to be girls could get their ears pierced, and that was it. When I was in high school, some guys started doing the one earring look and tongue, nose and bellybutton piercings were starting to become popular."
Comfort Is Priority
"Wearing sneakers to work at a fortune 100 company."
"At the beginning of my career it was suit and tie, then business casual and now I wear stan smiths, jeans and an untucked polo in the most senior position of my working life."
"I worked for the US Senate in 2009 (in a totally non-political job for the Senate Curator). I wore clothes from Hot Topic on the Senate floor. Some days I wore old jeans with holes in the knees if I knew I'd be climbing ladders to clean artworks. One of the women on the team had a full chest tattoo and made zero effort to cover it up because no one cared. The day I met Senator Inouye to discuss what paintings he wanted in his office, I had on trainers."
Benefits Of Letting The Hair Down
"They realized that they can't erode wages and expect us to look like we're on Mad Men at the same time. Allowing long haired freaky people has made them sh*tloads of money over the years."
Hair Coloring & Tattoos
"Any type of hair coloring would result in serious trouble at school. I also remember tatoos being frown upon as being found mostly on people that got out of prison."
The advent of the internet was a huge game changer, and rules were made up as we went along.
The Bandwidth Situation
"2 people using the internet at the same time."
Phones In The Classroom
"Middle/high school students being allowed to have their cell phones in class. Being caught with our cell phone when I was a high schooler was an automatic detention etc."
Consequences Of Having A Phone On Campus
"I graduated in the late 90's, and the president of my class got expelled one week before graduation for having a phone on campus. It was in his car, and this was after hours. It rang and a teacher heard it. They made an example out of him. He lost his admission to West Point."
"Now my 8th grader finds it super unjust that her science teacher makes all the kids put their phones in a box at the front of the room during tests, and feels super justified in never ever giving up her airpods to that sort of thing."
When I was a cast member at Disneyland in the early 2000s, we had to abide by the strict, clean-cut appearance guidelines required of all cast members–with different rules applying to each respective gender.
Men, for example, were not allowed to wear jewelry or have visible tattoos. We also had to maintain the length of our hair to not exceed past a certain length, and sporting facial hair was a major no-no.
Now, the "Disney Look" has changed, allowing all cast members to reflect their personalities through “gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos," according to the Disney Parks Blog.
To the Mouse, I tip my hat for these awesome changes.
As a kid, I remember being obsessed (like obsessed) with David the Gnome and his fox Swift. I was tuned in daily to watch the adventures, get all misty eyed for the hurt animals the gnomes saved, and sobbed in abject wonder when the gnomes finally lived all 400 years of their gnome life and transitioned into the trees that make up the woods they live in.
The trees are their ancestors, y'all! The treeees! They protect the trees because they're family. Trees grow intertwined because they were so in love when they were gnomes.
Fam! This show was everything ... except memorable for other people because I was in my 30s talking to someone from another country before I met the first person who remembered this show.
Which, honestly, is kind of insulting to gnomes and trees.
Reddit user itchellFamily1045 asked:
"Which show do you think you're the only person who remembers it exists?"
It was David the Gnome for me (which I found out originated in Spain and was much more popular in France than it was in the US. Apparently, I was a Euro-trash hipster as a child), but let's take a look at what got Reddit.
Classic Wheel Of Fortunewheel through the years GIF by Wheel of FortuneGiphy
"It's funny how nobody seems to remember the early seasons of Wheel of Fortune with host Chuck Woolery. You didn't win any cash. You had to choose prizes from a selection of things set up in a room-like fashion."
"They still had the prize room with sajak for a while I believe. Camera would just pan across the room and the winner would try not to pick the stupidest things. Cause the items all had fn price tags on em and you'd only have the $ amount you won. Infuriating"
"A broyhill coffee table!!"
"Always ending up with the porcelain dog statue cause it was all you had left after buying expensive items."
"I still think about the episode where everyone who stayed young, slept in Tupperware, and when their lids got taken off, aged overnight."
"One of my favorite moments on the show had Marshall and Simon hanging out in Simon's room, one night. Through the walls you can hear a man and a woman laughing lecherously."
"Marshall: 'It sounds like your mom and dad are having a party'."
"Simon: 'Mom's not home'."
"It was a great weird kids' show, but some of the gags they managed to sneak in were hilarious."
"I work w a dude whose daughter was on that show, We were just randomly chatting and he was telling me how she had done some modelling/acting when she was little"
" 'you probably dont know the show but...'."
" 'like hell i dont that show was great'."
"Early edition- get tomorrow's newspaper today"
"I loved that show! What a concept!"
"Omg omg omg"
"Quality 90s tv, right there. A warm-fuzzy show."
Herman's Headtalking marge simpson GIFGiphy
"Anyone remember Herman’s Head?"
"It had the woman that does the voice for Lisa Simpson and the woman that went on to play Ross' exwife on friends was one of the characters in his head."
" It has 2 Simpsons voice actors- Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria. I seem to remember that they were offered the roles- and maybe the whole show existed? - because they didn’t want to be ‘just’ VA’s, and FOX wanted to placate them."
"That’s a real show?? They reference it on 'only murders in the building'.”
"I came for this one too!"
The Garry Shandling Show
"The Gary Shandling Show. No, not the Larry Sanders Show - Gary Shandling Show. Even the theme song breaks the fourth wall."
"This is the theme to Gary's show, the opening theme to Gary's show. This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits. We're almost to the part of where I start to whistle, then we'll watch It's Gary Shandling's Show."
"Yeah, Garry Shandling and Tracey Ullman are pretty much tied up in my memory."
"Best theme song EVER!"
"My partner LOVES the theme to that show! Plays it in the background every now and then, it's a riot!"
"Mid-2000s show on Fox that was apparently too weird even for Fox. I think they canceled it halfway through the 1st season."
"I have the DVD. Excellent show that I still toss in every once in a while."
"The producers had planned out some storylines all the way to S3. The S2 cliffhanger was supposed to be Jaye being sent to the mental hospital where she had helped put away some guest stars, including the woman who tried to kill the therapist with gift store items, and the boy who bought the russian mail order bride."
"Bryan Fuller's early work."
Mary Hartman Square
"Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"
"I remember watching this with my dad and my sister after the 11:00 pm news. I was in like 6th grade. That's what happens when there's no mom around. 😂"
"Her husband fell into a vat of paint thinner at work, and he needed to have plastic surgery over every inch of his body, so he requested to look like Tab Hunter."
"I thought her husband drowned in a bowl of soup. Maybe her first husband? That show was trippy af"
"Her neighbor's husband. The clip is on YouTube."
"Spin off of a spin off or Mary Tyler Moore as I recall, right? Wasn't Rhonda the first spinoff?"
"Not a spin-off. Mary Hartman was a very bizarre show for its time, a parody of a soap opera. Louise Lasser played Mary, and she was this weirdly detached character surrounded by crazy drama and violence. I think it might have been the first place I saw Martin Mull."
"Terranova, ran for like a single season then disappeared"
"I loved that show! So annoying they didn’t get a second season."
"I was a young kid when it aired on TV so i dont remember much of it, but I recall it being a recurring topic with my mom every now and then"
"oh god I’m old. I thought it was only a few years ago. I just looked it up and it was 11. Excuse me while I go get an AARP application."
"It’s that old?! Holy sh*t, grab me an application too, please. It seriously felt like just a couple of years ago."
"Karen Valentine was probably the cutest girl ever on a tv show. I used to love when she would be on the original Hollywood Squares."
"She was the only reason anyone watched that show."
"I loved that show! My mom, my sisters and I would watch that show every Friday night. The cast was really good — Karen Valentine was a really cute and bubbly teacher, and Michael Constantine was great as the high school principal"
"Yes! I swear this was the first one I thought of! And Under the Umbrella Tree!"
"If you have the Paramount streaming app, it's on there!"
"Spicy, salty, sour, sweet, bring us something good to eat!"
"I’m in my late thirties and still vividly remember the Christmas special episode where Magellan gets lost in the woods."
"Eureka’s Castle was the jam!"
"*Worms going err errrr ER err ere rrr*"
Let's talk about the shows nobody remembers but you.
Are they those early childhood favorites? Or maybe a teen-drama that only got one season before Netflix pulled it, crushing your hopes and dreams of resolved plotlines about a teenage ghost band who died of poisoned hot dogs and the incredibly talented, but heartbroken, young singer who gives them a new lease on life, love, and music?
No that is not a joke and YES I am still angry about Netflix not giving Julie and the Phantoms a second season.
Maybe it's a soap opera you think you remember watching with your mom, but maybe it was a fever dream?
Whatever it is, we want to hear about it.