Runaway Future

8.9.2011

Doing your time

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 22:38

A student in my class, feeling self-concious about being much older than the other students, told me that he had been in prison. I asked him what crime he had committed, and he said, “Shot a dude.” He wrote a series of very good but very stoic stories about prison life, and when I asked him why the stories were so tight-lipped, he explained to me the jailhouse concept of “doing your own time,’ which means that when you’re a prisoner you’re expected not to burden the other prisoners by complaining about your incarceration or regretting what you had done or, especially, claiming you haven’t done it. “Do your own time” – it’s a seductive slogan. I find that I quote it to myself frequently, but really I don’t subscribe to the sentiment. We’re not, after all, in prison – not exactly, not literally. Stoicism bores me. What I ultimately believe in is talking about everything until you’re blue in the face.

David Shields, Enough About You

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