Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Social duties

"Prison" is a strange animal - or perhaps it would be better referred to as an "Entity". Whichever way, it's strange. Well, I suppose I'd better explain that rather odd statement. What I mean is, it's like a micro-organism, a huge micro-organism - and if that's not a contradiction in terms then I don't know what is.

It is a small, entirely enclosed world and yet it teems with the life of any huge metropolis. We wander through it generally indifferent and ignorant of most of what is going on - and yet we are fully aware of everything. Llke any conglomeration, we have those at the top and those propping everyone and everything else up. We have the weird, the wonderful and all stages in between. We have those who really ought to be kept as far from female society as possible and those who think that any unattended  pound coin is there to be stolen. Muggers, sluggers and buggers - we've got them all.

People like me, hereinafter referred to as "Ordinary Decent Criminals" or ODCs, have generally reached the position in our personal mindsets where we can ignore the - shall we call them "The Fiddling Fraternity"? - and we generally only offer our time and friendship (fleeting as it may be) to others much like ourselves. It's true, water does find its own level, and birds of a feather do flock together. The "Shify Sonority" avoid the ODCs and so on. Sometimes it's hard to know the difference and I suppose it's best not to enquire too closely. The old axiom would seem to apply - if you don't want to know the answer, don't ask the bloody question.

Personally I don't give a fiddler's and don't ask questions. I have a small - well, not so small - circle of fellows I see and chat to and everyone else kind of becomes a face in a dinner queue, and that way my personal mental comfort is assured.

I think what I really mean is that I don't make judgements on others without a good reason. Who am I to judge anyway?

Okay, with that out of the way let me move on to saying that over the years (and there've been a few) I must have met thousands of fellows much like myself who are generally seen as "goodfellows" - one of yer own, so to speak. They come into our lives, stay a while - sometimes many years - but sooner or later pass on much like ships  in the night. Every now and again paths cross again and we run into old faces. Such a thing happens here at the Home for Gay Sailors just as it does everywhere else, and when I arrived here I ran into a few faces from the past and a few have arrived since I got here.

There used to be a kind of tradition in prison which consisted of a new fellow arriving in a prison - a goodfellow - and he would be taken around and introduced to others of a like ilk. This served several purposes: it got the fellow into a circle which he knew he belonged to, fellows of a like character; and if a goodfellow introduced the new boy to another goodfellow it was a kind of endorsement saying, "This is X, he's okay.' It doesn't happen much these days of course - the modern class of ODC quite simply doesn't have the manners of the "Old School". On the converse side of course there was the un-uttered but heavily-implied fact that if a fellow WASN'T introduced then the fellow was no good, but there was no need to say so.

Well, an old friend of mine arrived this week and I've been doing my duty in introducing him to those he needs to know - he knows a couple himself already of course - and that's my duty done.

I wonder why modern day criminals no longer have any manners in general! The world has turned very selfish and "Me Me Me" in the last ten to fifteen years or more. Mind, is it any surprise, when every time we turn the telly on we get our political masters standing there accused of all manner of devious behaviour, spouting out figures in the billions and smugly telling the lesser mortals such as myself that we have to bite the bullet while they bite their lobsters.

Oh yes, it's true what they say about the politicos - a politician is someone who will willingly lay down your life for his country.

The Voice In The Wilderness

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