Con College Coronapocalypse Life Hacks #23: Waiting in Line

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As we’ve seen, the coronapocalypse isn’t all fun (but I still laugh when I think of people consuming fish tank cleaner as a preventative measure) and things have been inconvenient for many people. That’s where I come in, providing the life hacks you need to get through the coronapocalypse. Whether it’s finding calm in the coronapocalypse or here or passing on what I’ve learned during my time in federal prison, I’m your guy.

Many lessons were learned at Con College.

People talk about how the quarantine is like being in prison. While there’s an element of truth in how being stuck in your home is like being stuck in prison, the real comparisons are in particular day-to-day activities. Take shopping for example. When I was in Con College, we went shopping twice a month to the local commissary (I discuss it more in my memoir Laughing All the Way to the Bank (Robbery): How an Attorney Survived Prison). We’d fill out a sheet, drop it off at the “store” after lunch, then wait until dinner time when the store was open for pick-ups.

You want to talk about your complete shitshows. We were assigned numbers for coming back and the prison would announce they were serving numbers 1 to 50. That meant you went to the commissary and waited in line for your items, hoping you could get them before the prison called chowtime. Otherwise, you missed out because once the mess hall closed, you were often stuck cooking up crackhead soups if you wanted something to eat.

Crackhead soups, one of the four food groups in Con College

Naturally, with this being a place full of cons, more than a few people took it upon themselves to go whenever they felt like it, ignoring whatever numbers they got. The C.O.’s couldn’t care less either and you could have number 200 when they were serving 1 to 50 and they just wanted to get their work done.

This meant long lines where you stood around for what could be an hour just waiting in line. You couldn’t always talk, so you had to come up with mental puzzles to keep things going. Think of a list of your favorite movies, think of what food you were going to make with supplies your friend stole from the kitchen, or think of which famous actresses you’d like to “date” when you got out. When it comes to prison, it’s more often than not a mental game. Sure, there might be times when you have to get physical (although that’s unlikely in a medium-security prison unless you get yourself involved with gangs or gambling (or you just happen to be a jerk). Generally speaking, you let minor things slide too so if someone cut ahead of you in line, you didn’t drop the dogs on them. If someone is being rude like that, they’re going to get prison justice out in the yard. Likewise when you’re out shopping in the real world and you see someone rude. Sure, you could take that can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and conk them in the head for cutting ahead of you, but do you need the hassle? Probably not.

So the next time you’re out shopping and waiting in line to cash out, take the advice of someone who has waited in a lot of lines with some shall we say, colorful people. Use whatever mental tricks you have (assuming you don’t go on your phone). It sure beats being one of the unfortunate people who have to wait in line just to get food because they’re still waiting on their unemployment checks.

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Mike Rickard II

Retired bank robber and author of "Wrestling's Greatest Moments", "Laughing All the Way to the Bank Robbery, "Flunky: Pawns and Kings," and "Don't Call Me Bush Beans: The Legend of a Three-Legged Cat." Pro wrestling and hockey fan. Hired gun for several pro wrestling sites and a top 10 YouTube wrestling channel. Available in regular and extra-strength.
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