Thirty years in a Minute

By BitcoDavid

Old Computers.net
Old Computers.net

I worked for a company that made a computer assisted fleet dispatching system, utilizing a z-80 microprocessor and cassette-tape disk drives. I owned Boston’s first 4-bus, 24 input, live mixing console – a Biamp 1642. I drove for 2 different cab companies and dispatched for 2 more. I delivered pizzas for a mobbed-up joint in Kenmore square. We made a dollar fifty for each delivery, plus tips. We would use our own cars. I rented – and totaled – a Pontiac Sunbird. After expenses, which included both pot and pinball, we could make about 200 bucks a night. I had this crazed dachshund who had the heart of a tiger, and the speed of Bruce Lee. Her name was Ruby, and she’d guard my pizza car, like a dog on a mission.

Mr. Butch in all his glory. Image: Benign Girl.com
Mr. Butch in all his glory. Image: Benign Girl.com

I was a soundman for some legendary bands during Boston’s Punk-rock heyday. Harlequin, Deuce, the Phantoms, the Needles, Larry Lifeless and Sickness, to name just a few. I worked the Rat – the notorious Rat. I got patted on the back by Leon Russell, and snorted coke with Greg Allman. I mixed Alvin Lee, when Ten Years After was Ten Years Later. I even knew Mr. Butch.

I built up New England’s premier pro-audio repair facility, and we were the Northeast’s only factory certified warranty center for a brand new recording format, called ADAT. I branched into custom building of boutique studio and live performance gear, and have amps, preamps and headphone amplifiers that are still in use.

I taught analog electronics for 6 years, and had hundreds of students. I’ve had a plethora of girlfriends and one devoted wife. I was diagnosed with diabetes, managed and finally cured it. I’ve had 5 great years as a boxer, and an equal number as a writer. I’ve studied both English and History, and I’m learning ASL.

How Stuff Works.com
How Stuff Works.com

Your story may be different, but I’m sure it’s no less full, no less fascinating. Maybe you married your High school sweetheart. Maybe your kids played on school teams. Maybe they have Masters’ degrees – or even doctorates, now. Perhaps you own your own business, built up from an idea and a dream. Or you’re the tops in your field – the go-to guy at the office.

You could be on your 4th marriage, and trying desperately to keep this one. You might be struggling with alcoholism or addiction. You’re mentally ill, on antidepressants, fighting every day just to get out of bed in the morning.

Whatever your story – thirty years is damn long time, isn’t it?

Malden, Ma. Police Dept.
Malden, Ma. Police Dept.

But there are people for whom today is just like yesterday. There are people who’s story of the last 30 years can be summed up in 3 words. I’m in prison. Maybe they did it, maybe they didn’t, but while we lived for the past 3 decades, they simply survived. Whatever crimes they may have committed, it is we who have stolen their youth, their very lives.

America has 5% of the world’s population, and 25% of her prisoners. We incarcerate for more types of violations, and we incarcerate for longer sentences, than do other industrialized nations. Prisons are rapidly becoming ad hoc mental hospitals, rehabs and rest homes. Repositories for those members of our society, we’ve given up on.

Ted Bundy. Image: Planet POV.com
Ted Bundy. Image: Planet POV.com

Every time we build a new school or a new hospital, we make a joint affirmation – as a community – that we are making a better world for our children, a world in which they will have several great 30 year eras. Every time we build a prison we are creating a symbol of our failure as a society.

I have known sociopaths. I’ve known people who were nothing more than an ill wind. Whose contribution to society consisted entirely of robbing the elderly, kicking dogs and shaking babies. Abusers, rapists, thieves and even murderers. These people need to be dealt with in a way that protects us from them. They need to be removed from society, because we have not the science nor the skills to understand them.

But for everybody else, our goal should be to make prison a fading memory. One of those arcane and archaic punishment systems of the past, like the pillory, public flogging or the Wheel.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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