Last week my bunkie, my limping, 62-year-old bunkie with the bum knee, threw down his cane and cried, “I’ve been cured.” More or less. I was amazed, though not at the miracle of his recovery. Rather, what amazed me was that he decided to throw down his extra appendage with a whole month left to go on his sentence.

The thing is, he never really needed the cane all that much at all. Or maybe he once did, although, if so, that moment had long since passed. But he had his reasons for carrying it. Namely, in the BoP, there are certain privileges that come along with carrying a cane, an instrument nearly as wondrous as a magic wand.

Like those who score a handicap parking sticker on the outside without any actual handicap, finagle permission to carry a cane and the prison world’s your oyster: cushy clerk jobs, a lower bunk, no waiting in prison’s many long lines. My bunkie was always first to enjoy our wondrous chow each evening, the official taste-tester of the camp.

But, after four years of carrying his cane around, my bunkie just got tired of the deadweight in his hand, tired of the charade: because if you’re going to go for the gold, you have to be ready to go the distance: get caught by a guard walking to the bathroom without it, and the gig is up. That, and he didn’t want to walk out of her like, as he put it, ‘an old fart.’

I’m excited for my bunkie and his upcoming release. Excited over the thought of him bounding down the streets of San Diego, a spring in his step. He’s excited too. He’s even offered to gift me the cane before he leaves, teach me proper cane-walking techniques. I’m considering it, but worry that the thing will crimp my style. Maybe I’ll rebrand it as a ‘walking stick’ instead.

The serious message to this true but fatuous post? If you’re expecting a stint in prison, prepare ahead of time to ensure that all medical conditions, real, potential and otherwise, are properly documented. Come in with every little ailment spelled out in black and white. That small effort ahead of time can make a world of difference to your stay as a valued guest of the BoP: the difference between economy and economy plus. On a serious note, it can help ensure you get the care and medication you may require. Should you have any of these issues, or even want or need a cane, a prison advisor such as Justin can help you come to prison prepared.

It is never too late to start preparing…Download Lessons From Prison Now to discover what is truly possible in federal prison.

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