Journal Entry: Gary Goulin-03/05/2024-BINGO

Journal Entry

I had a pleasant surprise last evening. I was in the recreation center and had just finished 30 minutes on the exercise bicycle. As I was walking past the front desk to get a wipe to clean off the bicycle, the attendant said to me “Are you Goulin?” “Yes”, I replied. He turned around and grabbed a clear plastic bag full of goodies and handed them to me. I was confused. “Bingo”, he said. Then I remembered I had won the first game of Bingo that was held over Presidents’ Day Weekend. I assumed I would win a candy bar or something. When I got back to my unit, I opened the bag. Among the delights were a Hostess cherry pie, a granola bar, 4 packets of instant oatmeal, Pop Tarts, potato chips, flaming hot Doritos and 2 small bags of peanuts.

A few of the items I really wanted, the rest, not so much. What to do with the stuff I didn’t want? I didn’t really want to sell it (stamps are the currency here) and get involved in the “prison hustle”. Just giving it away isn’t a great idea either – being too generous leads to being taken advantage of. My bunkmate has been wonderful to me. Helping me learn the system and also lending me a radio and earphones until I can purchase my own. I will give him a few of the items as a way to express my gratitude for lending me those items – a repayment of sorts. That way I pay back his kindness, rather than just give the items away.

It’s a strange new world here in prison, with its whole set of unspoken rules. But slowly and surely I’m adapting and learning.

I continue to broaden my horizons and challenge myself by getting out of my comfort zone. I’ve now completed two 12-hour adult continuing education courses: one on financial literacy, the other on the history of the Broadway musical. With over 120 courses offered, my biggest question now is “what should I take next?”