Thursday, February 09, 2006
I was mean yesterday.
Or, at least, I think I was. It felt mean. But maybe it was just a big old hunk o' karma. You decide.

I was at the prison for my weekly pretending-I-have-an-identity adventure, and was assigned to do some psychological testing with a sex offender. The guy walks into the room, and he is just huge. At least a full foot taller than me - and I'm 5'8" - with bad enough posture that he might actually be 7'6". Hands the size of one of my cutting boards. And not the smallest one, the medium-sized one. Complete with scrapes and scars and general beat-up-ed-ness. Intimidating?

Well, no. Because he was 75. Had recently had his third stroke in five years. Was missing an eye, deaf in one ear, unable to use his dominant hand, and dependent on a cane and luck to get from Point A to Point Chair.

My job was to do some interviewing and testing with him to determine - wait for it - whether having three strokes in five years might have had any impact on his mental functioning. Gee, ya think?

So among other things, I was giving him intelligence and memory tests. And he struggled so hard with it, really wanted to do well and just couldn't. Here's a guy 50 - okay, 45 - years older than me who has had a lifetime of manual labor jobs and Navy stints, and he's expected to sit in a room with a whippersnapper, a FEMALE one at that (whippersnappette?), and answer stupid questions and do stupid things and try as hard as he can and still know he's doing it wrong. It was agonizing.

But, let's go back to the beginning. He's a sex offender. Now, I didn't research his original charges, because they're not relevant. But he was incarcerated about 5 years ago. How serious does your offense have to be to be thrown into State Prison at 70? Seriously?? So, let's sit with the assumption that this was a Bad Dude to begin with.

Hmm. Raises all sorts of existential questions about fairness and justice and karma and cycles.


I don't know. I think I'll just go have a brownie.

In lighter news, no one in the town we live in, or perhaps anywhere in New Hampshire, or maybe not anywhere in the whole world, has ever accidentally ripped up their current vehicle registration, before today. Ask Willem how he knows…