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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Americans often drop popular sayings in conversation that have some element of truth to them.
You've undoubtedly come across phrases like, "Kill two birds with one stone" or "it's raining cats and dogs."
While those are used to describe actions, like the state of the weather, there are other phrases that are dispensed as words of wisdom to help individuals through a challenging situation.
But the endeavor to console someone by using this tactic is not always effective.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor Braca5 asked:
"What popular sayings are bullsh*t?"
These sound familiar?
The Survivor Mentality
"whatever doesn't kill you just makes you stronger."
"Looks aren't important."
"It's true. They don't always or entirely matter, but they do. That's kind of how superficial humans are."
Not Every Pain Heals
"Time heals all wounds."
"There's another one that goes like this 'time heals nothing, it just replaces memories.'"
The stigma around this is so foul, the guilty will lie about their offensive crime.
"He who smelt it dealt it"
"Whoever said the rhyme did the crime."
Psychology Around The Guilt
"The irony is it's almost always the opposite that's true. Most people would rather just be quiet about a fart than try to put it on somebody else and as it is you usually become pretty accustomed to your own and probably don't even smell half of the ones that slip out so likely the person who dealt it is going to be one of the last to actually consciously smell it."
Playing by the rules doesn't always get you places.
"Cheaters never win."
"A better saying:"
'Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.' John Harington (1561 - 1612)
Comeuppance Never Comes
"What goes around, comes around."
"Bullsh*t. I've seen people be jerks my entire life (I'm 57 y/o) and they never got what should have come around to them."
Thing About Karma
"Worse, it's an excuse to not take responsibility. A few years back, I had discovered a nasty person who was fooling the public by buying dogs from Amish auctions of out of state, bringing them, unvaccinated, across state lines, and pawning them off on the public as 'rescues' but also taking loads of donations when she was not registered as a charity. She was not using the funds for medical care. The gal was a flashy blonde in designer clothes and knew how to fool people."
"The county authorities were investigating and needed more evidence. I approached the owner of a local pet supply store where she operated her scam and asked him to cooperate. He banned her from the store but completely refused to cooperate with the investigation. Excuse, 'Karma will get her.'"
"B*tch got off with just a fine when she would have faced animal cruelty charges."
"Karma? No, it's not a thing."
Those who adopt a passive way of thinking end up making up for lost time.
Turning A Blind Eye
"Out of sight, out of mind."
"Ever lost track of a spider?"
How Much Time Do You Have?
"Good things come to those who wait."
Lond Distance Relationships Aren't For Everyone
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”
I think those who say "if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life," is debatable.
Depending on the situation, being forced to do something you once loved so you could earn a living can potentially breed resentment.
I'm a former dancer who absolutely lived off the adrenaline of performing on a stage. But when the cast I was performing with at a theme park was forced to do the same rigorous show five times a day–sometimes in intense heat–I was miserable.
Once, I severely twisted my ankle mid-performance simply because I was physically exhausted but continued giving it my 100% when my body was ready to give out. That's when most performance-based injuries occur.
That phrase certainly got a second hard look from me back then.
No two people share exactly the same likes and interests.
But on occasion, one might find themselves being among the few, if not the sole members of a certain fan club.
Indeed, while Cats earned a place on the list of the worst movies of all time, its 19% score on Rotten Tomatoes suggests that there are a handful of people who actually liked it.
Or while many people dread having to clean their homes, some simply can't wait to get started, and will look for any and every opportunity to do so.
Redditor StardustNova_ was curious to hear where members of the Reddit community found themselves in a distinct minority of appreciation, leading them to ask:
"What's something you like that the vast majority people hate?"
You've got me all tied up in knots!
"I love untangling things."
"Your Christmas lights end up in a ball and there’s no telling where it starts or ends?"
"Got a necklace that got rolled up into a total mess?"
"I’m your de-tangler."
"Headphones come out of your pocket looking like a Tangela? "
"Total zen for me."
"Wish I could make a few bucks with it tho."- Not_Jo_Mama
I'm all ears!
"People that talk a lot so I don’t need to."
"I like listening to them & I find their energy refreshing."- krasavetsa
"Everything about the airport."
"Idk why but it’s so fascinating."
"Honestly I like it more than the trip sometimes lol."- abigailgwhitneyairport GIFGiphy
"The cold never bothered me anyway"
"A Winnipeg winter day where there's not a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind, but it's so f*cking cold out your nose hairs freeze together every time you breathe."- FakeLordFarquaad
When life gives you lemons...
"Apparently a lot of people don't like the lemon/yellow starburst candy, and that's the one I prefer."- mermaid_with_pants
Sudsy, soapy dreams...
"Doing the dishes."
"I find it so calming."- shakensunshineSeason 5 Episode 10 GIF by SpongeBob SquarePantsGiphy
The gift that keeps on giving.
"It's super therapeutic and relaxing to me."
"I'll wrap everyone's presents in the house, even the ones they have to give to other people!"- happygoose2022
Sweeet and sparkly!
"Fruit flavored sparkling water."- suitcaseinherhand
"It's raining, it's pouring..."
"Gloomy and rainy days."- eggtart_princerainy day GIFGiphy
Can't dive too deep!
"I got addicted to research when I was in college and something about putting everything together to present a coherent argument is just exciting for me."- ILoveFoodALotMore
It's always interesting to hear the thing which would make some people groan with misery that would make others cheer with glee.
Nor should always look down on someone for loving something you absolutely hate, as they could help you wrap those presents you've been putting off because you hate it so much.
And who knows, maybe Cats wasn't as bad as you remembered...
It's usually a good feeling to be "on top".
To be found at the top of the list of a notable or unique accomplishment.
Though having the distinction of being in the top 0.1 percent of something might not always be something to brag about, resulting in some keeping this distinction to themselves.
If only because some people might be unusually fascinated by their so-called "accomplishment", that they'll never stop being bombarded by questions.
Redditor ImLostInTheForrest was curious to hear if any members of the Reddit community believed they were in the 0.1 percent of anything, be it commendable, bizarre or unfortunate, leading them to ask:
"What’s something you believe you may be in the 0.1% of?"
A mighty heart indeed
"Scars on my heart."
"I have about 30, I think."
"On my 4th heart procedure, I had 24 cardiac ablations."
"They use radio waves to kill tissue to create scarring so that effectively signals can't travel through that way."
"During one procedure, epicardial, meaning both inside and outside the heart. by the top electrophysiologist on the east coast."
"He said only one other patient of his had more done in one procedure."
"Took 10 hours."
"I could hear the nurses gossiping about me in the hallway."
"This was 7 years ago, and now my heart is working great!"- pearlie_girl·
Extremely comfortable in my skin
"Half of my body is a birthmark of tan skin, and the other half is pale white."
"It's right down the middle of my stomach and same with my back."
"I've only ever seen 1 person online with it saying 'chimerism' but idk if that's same with me."
"Idk but it's uncommon." - User Deleted
"Still living with stage IV lung cancer for 13 yrs."- Flashy-Cattle-8086
Big shoes to fill indeed...
"I wear a size 18."- wearegoodthings
Love your job!
"Don't know if it's less cool because I do it for work, but I 'photograph' atoms and crystalline atomic structures most days."
"I get to see the world in a way few ever do which is kinda neat."- RayseBraizeAnimation Loop GIF by xponentialdesignGiphy
An exclusive club no one wants to be part of...
"I have this condition called Miyoshi Myopathy, which, thankfully, affects only my calves and hence my walking capabilities."
"My doctor told me it is rare, but tbh statistically rare does not really mean anything, everyone might have it but they either did not get out of their way to test it, via taking blood and had it examined in a lab, or they just never realized there was something wrong at all."
"If you are wondering why I said 'Thankfully it only affected the legs', it is because it is a muscle disorder, and some disorders affect Cardiac, heart, and Pulmonary, lungs, muscles that will obviously not be pretty."
"I have to get tested every year to make sure all my vital functions are normal and as of now nothing significant is noted and I should be living a long and healthy life."- 1123Icantthinkofname
It's harder than you think...
"Folks who know percentages."- mrg1957Giphy
"Apparently only 0.1% of people become mechanical engineers in the US and an even smaller percentage are women, so maybe that?"
"I was also less than 2 lbs when I was born, and I think the percentage is probably similar."
"I somehow have no lasting physical issues from that, though my sister has cerebral palsy."- s_p_o_c_k
Plenty to go around!
"I have 3 functional kidneys."
"No it doesn't mean I pee more."
"No it doesn't mean I can drink more alcohol, thats the liver."
"No I won't sell it for under $71,241." - User Deleted
While some wouldn't necessarily consider some of these things an accomplishment, all of them certainly make for fascinating conversation starters.
Seriously, where would the third kidney even go...?
They say there's no use crying over spilled milk, but that doesn't mean there's no use in saying something to diffuse the tension.
When something goes horribly wrong, a comment that comes out of left field or a quippy comment can make everyone feel better.
Once a particular comment proves effective, there's also no real reason to look for something else. Instead, the aforementioned comment becomes your go-to.
In order to find out what those effective comments are, Redditor CruelHandLucas asked:
"What is your favorite thing to say when something goes terribly wrong?"
It's A Story
"This is good for the plot."
"I always say "It's just a part of the character development""
"whenever something goes completely the wrong way i think “ooooh plot twist”"
"“Let’s start again, but this time with feeling,” is one of my favorites."
"I want this on my gravestone"
I Meant To Do That!
"One time when I used to work in a kitchen the head chef accidentally clipped the chip/fries bowl where you dump freshly cooked chips/fries to season them and sent it flying across the kitchen and crashing to the floor with the clang that only stainless steel kitchenware can emit. Without missing a beat he went "I'll just pop that there for a sec" totally deadpan and turned back to the counter by the passe where he was finishing plating some dishes. Something about the humour of it cut through all the chaos of the busy kitchen and I was in tears of laughter. 10 years later I still say "I'll just pop that there for a sec" any time I knock something over, no one else seems to find it as funny as I do but it still entertains me."
"In my kitchen when someone drops a plate or anything its mandatory for someone to tell them “that doesnt go there”"
"Sometimes before things even hit the ground I'll proclaim "Take that, floor!""
""Well that's not ideal, it's it?""
"Best friend is British. When we play golf and she hits a bad shot she just says, "well that's unfortunate." And I love it."
"i usually just shout “BIT SAD INNIT” in a British accent."
"…. My friends hate me"
"YES, QUITE BLOODY MISERABLE, I MUST SAY"
Show No Emotion
"With a neutral expression, and unemotionally."
"I do that but I say “Joy. Deep joy.” Completely deadpan lol."
You Never Saw Me. You Never Even Knew Me.
"I was never here"
"I was never given a name"
Stopped Too Soon
"I picked a hell of a week to stop sniffing glue"
"Whadda week to stop shooting shark adrenaline."
– Deleted User
"Ah gee scoob..."
Those Cartoon Responses
"Great googly moogly"
"I'm with this or "Oh bother" like pooh"
All Eyes On Me
"I like to pause time with a loud record scratch and say "yup. That's me. I bet you're wondering how I got here.....""
Sometimes, when things go horribly wrong, all you want to do is bang your head against the wall...sometimes, until you knock yourself unconscious.
Or, maybe you want to scream and cry and hide in a corner.
However, finding something fun to say may be the best response...and the best way to de-stress and move on.