Plaxico Burress, the New York Giants wide receiver who accidentally shot himself in the leg in a Manhattan nightclub, has hired a consultant to prepare him for prison. A consultant? What is there to consult him about? If I were his consultant, I’m imagining that the following conversation would take place:
ME: Okay, Mr. Burress, what exactly is it that you want to know about prison?
BURRESS: I was wondering if you could possibly plan some sort of schedule for me for when I’m in there.
ME: Schedule? Okay. For every hour that you’re awake, just stare at the metal bars in front of you.
BURRESS: That’s it?
ME: Well, you don’t have to stare at the metal bars. You can turn your back to the bars and stare at the wall if you’d like.
BURRESS: Yeah but…why isn’t there anything else for me to do other than just sit there?
ME: Well, the whole idea is that you’re supposed to sit there all day long and think about why it’s both unnecessary and wrong to be carrying an illegal handgun in a nightclub.
ME: But then again, they can’t control what you think about. Not yet anyway. If you wanted to be really rebellious, you could think about something other than why it’s both unnecessary and wrong to be carrying an illegal handgun in a nightclub. They’ll never know.
BURRESS: That’s a good point. Besides, wouldn’t it be really boring if I were to think about nothing other than the gun incident?
BURRESS: Okay. So what else should I think about?
ME: If I were you, I would think about how unfair it is that you will be serving a longer sentence than Michael Vick. I mean, unlike Vick, you hurt no one other than yourself. From there, I would try to figure out why society has such an anthropocentric view of the world, and how that needs to stop. Really work yourself into a rage while thinking about this stuff. A deep sense of rage might be the only thing that will help you to survive prison, especially if you come across a group of inmates who happen to be fans of the Dallas Cowboys. Also, have you considered haiku?
BURRESS: What’s that?
ME: Haiku is poetry consisting of three lines. The first line has to have five syllables, the second line seven syllables, and the third line five syllables. Five, seven, five.
BURRESS: I don’t know. I mean, I’m not much of a writer or anything.
ME: You don’t have to be. The whole idea is that when you’re locked up in a room all day long with absolutely nothing to do, verbal games will pretty much be your only form of entertainment. Hell, I do this while standing in a long line at the store, or during any meeting regarding life insurance. I come up with some real zingers too. Would you like to hear one?
ME: Coffee cup rattles/Homeless person begs for change/”I like coffee too!”
ME: Get it? You see, coffee has nothing to do with him begg–
BURRESS: Yeah yeah yeah. I got it.
ME: Haiku is supposed to be about nature, but I don’t let a thousand years of tradition stifle my creativity. There is, after all, no “off” button on the genius switch.
BURRESS: Uh huh.
ME: Here’s another one: Plaxico Burress/shot himself in the right leg/Now he’ll go to jail. Ha!
BURRESS: Man, fuck you! Is this funny to you?
ME: Hey, that last one was completely off the cuff, God damn it! Cut me some slack!
BURRESS: Fine. Other than finding something to do, do you have any other advice for me for when I’m in prison?
ME: Yes, and this is of the utmost importance. When you’re in the shower, DO NOT drop the soap!
ME: When you’re in the shower, whatever you do, do not drop the soap, no matter what. Hold onto it like it’s the football.
BURRESS: What will happen if I drop the soap?
ME: Let’s just say that if you drop the soap, you’ll go from being the wide receiver to the tight end. Or you’ll go from being the wide receiver to the even wider receiver.
BURRESS: What do–
ME: YOU’RE GONNA GET FUCKED IN THE ASS, PLAXICO!
BURRESS: Oh. Gotcha. Okay. Any other advice?
ME: Yes. If prison becomes too unbearable, I suggest that you make friends with an older, black inmate who can help you acquire a rock hammer and a poster of Rita Hayworth.
BURRESS:…You know what? You’re fired.
August 24, 2009