A co-worker and I were talking today about our job and the unique challenges we face, trying to distinguish between 1) liars, 2) crazy people, and 3) crazy people who are lying. Despite being a mental health crisis unit, the majority of the people I see are lying. In fact, right now I can think of maybe one or two that are truly sick. And one of those guys keeps jacking off and throwing his shit like a fucking monkey. The rest are lying. They're lying to hide out, or get meds, or get sent to the hospital, or because they're bored and we don't make them room together. I get it. Prison sucks. But these guys are lying for the express purpose of living next to a guy who stores feces in a milk carton and then smears it all over his room. Y'all. Cells aren't smell-proof. It's disgusting and it's the reason I bought really cheap (read: disposable) work shoes.
So we were talking about how frustrating it is, not that these guys are lying, but that they lie so badly. I mean, they're not even making an effort. I've had guys who really put some thought into it. They played the game. And I can respect that. Shit, sometimes I even admire a good manipulation because that's hard work. Especially in a place where no one trusts you to begin with. So here's my PSA.
IF: You go to prison, it's best not to owe anyone money or talk about what other people are doing. You'll save yourself a lot of trouble and probably won't have to hide.
BUT: If you do, you have two options. "PC up" and forever be known as a snitch or "Suicide up" and risk being seen as crazy
IF: You suicide up, come up with a decent back story. Do not tell me that your cousin/aunt/nephew was in an accident and you don't know what happened because you can't get a hold of anyone in your family, so you feel suicidal. This translates to "I want to try to get a cell phone from a staff and if that doesn't work I want to go to the state hospital for awhile." Also, it's the same exact story the last four guys FROM YOUR UNIT have told me.
WHEN: I call you on the fact that maybe you might be exaggerating, given that you just spent twenty minutes describing your parole plans after insisting that you would kill yourself the first chance you got, you have three options. 1) Admit defeat. 2) Up your game. or 3) Threaten to kill me or show me your penis.
CHOOSE: Option one would be a nice distraction because at that very moment a flock of pigs would fly out of my butt. Option two is always awesome. I especially appreciate when the guys are able to adapt quickly and without obviously changing the original story. "Oh, did you think I said I heard demons? No, I meant my internal, metaphorical demons..." I'd go for this option, unless upping the ante involves feces. I respect the commitment to the game, but that's disgusting. Option three is just pathetic, and will result in you getting more time and me not having to talk to you anymore. It's a win-win.
When I graduated, I had no idea that the majority of my time would be spent wading through bullshit. That I would ask a grown man what his "Boo boo" tasted like, just to gauge his level of commitment. That I would be able to listen to the eighty-millionith story about dying aunts with almost no sympathy, but have a complete emotional reaction when someone described a conspiracy involving nazis, shaking walls, and Jedi. Or that I would gain respect for a person who spent all night dancing so that the next day the staff would tell me, "It's the most bizarre thing. He danced all night long, howling at the moon." You might not be crazy, but I admire the work ethic.