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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rules are Rules

On the agenda for Saturday's workshop at the prison? An exercise using the sense of smell. The sense of smell is our most evocative sense. Doing an exercise based on the sense of smell takes us right past the internal critic to writing that is strong and powerful and true. It's one of my favorites, and never fails to elicit great responses.

I submitted a list of potential smells (which would be contained in empty film canisters--Walgreens has been good about donating them but they are inexplicably short right now) for approval and got the following reply:

"The institution does not allow the following items.
Play-doh, nail polish and bubble gum.
Play-doh and gum can be used to make molds of keys and nail polish can be sniffed for a high. "

Yeah, okay. I didn't know if nail polish would work, anyway, as it tends to smell most strongly when it's wet, and there's no way to keep it in that condition. And, not being in the know about these things, I have no idea whether you can sniff dry nail polish for a high. (I'm guessing not.) So, yeah, whatever. And I didn't bother to say that the amounts of bubblegum and Play-doh would have been so small, so tiny, nearly infinitesimal, that they couldn't have even been used to make molds of even a baby tooth, let alone any kind of key that would have done a devious-minded inmate any good. Rules are rules, and it is their game.

On the plus side, we did not have our recently-acquired volunteer IDs revoked for failing to notify the Control Officer of the three no-shows last Saturday. When I asked the volunteer coordinator if Ms. So-and-So had notified Control, she said, "She's not allowed to notify Control. She's an inmate." Yes. I know that now. It would have been helpful to know that ahead of time, but yeah, whatever. See previous comment about rules. I'm just grateful they didn't flat-out squelch the smells exercise.

By the way, I'm happy to see that I am not older than Play-doh. It's bad enough, being older than Rudolph and A Charlie Brown Christmas and the Superbowl. But I bet that even if you scoured every byte of the Hasbro site, you wouldn't find one word there about Play-doh being used to make molds of keys.


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