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Member since: Sat Mar 29, 2008, 09:11 PM
Number of posts: 45,851

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"It's easier to make it inside than outside"

I helped keep a man from going back to prison today and that's his comment that made the most impression on me.

I'm kind of buddies with the manager of one of our local thrift stores, I help him with his fairly frequent computer problems at the store and sometimes he cuts me a bit of a deal or holds stuff for me that he thinks I might be interested in. So I was working on his computer today when I got in a conversation with a guy that was looking over my shoulder and made some fairly intelligent remarks about what I was doing and mentioned that he was looking for that sort of work himself.

One thing led to another and pretty soon it became clear Chris was really in dire straits financially and had no one at all to help him. He had been living with a elderly friend who had passed away and now he's in a fleabag motel room right next to the thrift store @$150/week. His most pressing problem was he had a court mandated counseling session twenty five miles away this afternoon that if he missed it they already told him his probation was going to be revoked and it was back to prison. Chris is a little man, 135 lbs or so, short and slight, early forties but looks fiftysomething, well spoken and obviously intelligent but also fairly obviously with some sort of head problem it's beyond my pay grade to diagnose.

For my computer work my manager buddy gave me a old donated desktop he had in the store and I told my new acquaintance that if he fixed it up for me I would take him to his counseling session and also give him an old bicycle I have laying around so he could at least ride that instead of walking everywhere. I could have done the computer work myself but I sort of liked Chris and wanted to help him without it feeling like a complete handout, he's more knowledgeable than I am about certain aspects of computers so it wasn't entirely silly me letting him work on my latest acquisition. I actually ended up giving him the bicycle plus a large aluminum framed hiking backpack I had picked up at a yard sale somewhere so he could go shopping on the bike.

There are so many people out there in really horrible situations, Chris told me he was right on the verge of calling his probation officer and just telling them to come get him, it's actually easier to survive in prison than it is out on the streets for more people than most of us would credit. I'm not sure what that says about our society but I don't think it's anything good.

Pohl's Law might as well be DU's law

Fred Pohl's passing got me to thinking about him and while it's not as familiar as Murphy's law or Newton's laws, Fred does have a law named after him because he dreamed it up, or realized it however you want to think of it.

Pohl's Law is either "No one is ever ready for anything" or "Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere will not hate it".

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