We were congregating in the Mabel Bassett gym last Saturday, patiently waiting for the church group to finish their own congregating. I don’t usually talk to the prisoners much about anything but yoga and health. I’m not a counselor or doctor, and I have no business knowing their background or business. My aim for this organization is to keep everything professional, not find out about what they’re in for, and not have them seek me out to help them in any way except to teach yoga and meditation. But dang, the church group sure had a hitch in their giddyup getting out of there.
A rather striking, salt and pepper haired regular in my class who’s always in a good mood was standing next to me and made small talk. When she found out I was a lawyer, she talked a little about her release date and how she would pursue paralegal training when she got out.
“That’s the cool thing about the law,” I said. “It’s very forward-thinking about people who’ve served their time. I went to law school with a few people that had done jail time. If you can explain yourself, the legal field as a profession doesn’t hold it against you like every other job does.”
“Yeah,” she said. “I’ll never teach again, even though that’s what I was made to do.
“It’s crazy to be forever tarnished for one mistake. Let’s say you were starving and craving a pizza. And then, you sit down in front of the best pizza you could ever dream of, and you find a hair on one slice. It shouldn’t ruin the rest of the pizza for you.”
With exceptions, of course (lawyered), amen, lady.
“Good analogy,” I said. “Man, your new jackets are pretty snazzy. How’d you guys get those?”
These were seriously cool. Raw denim outside with wool lining and big, metal buttons…
“Like, I would wear one if it didn’t say ‘CORRECTIONS’ across the back.”
“Hell,” she said. “For most of us, it should say ‘CORRECTED.'”
Based on what I’ve seen in that class, she couldn’t be more right.