Thursday, August 05, 2010

Interesting how the mind works ...

Contents may be NSFW.

I came upon this site through an article on Bleeding Cool (in the pull-down menu). As I delved more into the work of this Giuseppe Veneziano fella, I found his work to be amateur crap at best.

But then, this piece - titled "Il Declino del Ragno" - reminded me of a funny work story from the ol' prison days.

I had the fortunate happenstance to be in the Special Housing Unit (SHU, which a couple of people wanted to call "the Shoe," but I refused) when an inmate was refused release from "investigative solitary;" it was a crazy kind of holding where institutional investigators could lock a guy up "pending an investigation" of some ne'er-do-welling on his part, the theory for the lock-up being that, if he's locked up and the shit's still going down, it ain't him. Plus, dude can't interfere with whatever investigation is going on at the time. I saw months stretch by that some dudes were on "investigative solitary."

So, this inmate who was refused release, he's raising hell, cussing out the officers (incurring institutional charges, which would contribute to possible punitive lock-up time, a winner is you), then he sees me and blurts out, "I'll just kill myself then."

Of all the phrases I've had the privelege to hear in my life, "I'm gon' kill myself" has to be the favorite. By this time in my life, I was a seasoned vet of institutional psychology services; dumbass blurts out even a whiff of a suicidal threat, I gotta look into it. However, while I was of the mind that if I looked into one of these situations and could smooth it over, I'd leave it the fuck alone, my repulsively corpulent supervisor was of the mindset that we have the responsibility to "set an example" to other inmates who want to threaten self-harm. Setting said example usually meant putting the inmate on 15 minute watches, stripping out their cells, and daily monitoring by the psychologist, i.e. my dumb ass.

There's dude, Mr. "I might just try to suicide myself," who probably wouldn't have even thought this if I'd been ten minutes faster in signing out of his pod, but no, he saw me and this brilliant plan came to mind. After he was put in his cell, I checked in on him to find him staring pensively into the toilet.

My memory interjects the Lumbergh voice into my interaction every time I remember asking him, "Hey. What's happening?"

He's a belligerent asshole, too, pissed over his circumstances (and who could blame him, really?), but through all my therapeutic skills, empathy and identification of solution-based behaviors, and all that other good ol' textbook shit, he just won't de-escalate. Plus, he's being a dickhead to me, and I had the philosophy during my tenure there that in my sessions, and in talking to me, I would let you cuss the institution, your circumstances, your lot in life, even God himself, but if you cuss me, I'll charge you.

Finally, after a few minutes of watching him basically stare into the toilet, it occurs to me to ask him, "So, how are you going to kill yourself?"

Sez he: "I'm going to drown myself in this toilet."

I could only stare at him for what felt like an hour. Then I spoke.

"Okay, go ahead. I'll stand here and watch you; I promise I won't call the officers until it looks like you may die. But know this: There are a lot of documented successful suicide attempts that have been made in history, but none have ever involved someone 'making' themselves drown. Go ahead; stick your head in the toilet and inhale as deeply as you want. Your brain will not let you do it. I bet you my salary for this year on it; you won't open your mouth, or you'll push yourself out. And all that will happen is that you will still be in this cell, with shit and piss remnants all in your hair and your nose and your eyes, for however long those things will live on, and these officers and staff will be joking on their lunch hour about 'hey, lemme tell you about this dumbass that stuck his head in the toilet.'

"Now, is that how you want this to go down?"

He looks at me and says, "Yeah."

I tell the officer at my side to go ahead and put him on fifteen minute suicide watches. Thinking about it even today, what's gotta be maybe eight years later, I'm still pissed about it.

So, yeah, Spider-Man won't have a lot of success, if that's the method he's choosing to go out on.

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