Satire / Humor – Talk about a morale booster!
If you almost died during the coronavirus outbreak at San Quentin State Prison, you may be entitled to a slice of pizza.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR) has offered, among other things, to provide a special meal, i.e., pizza, for a botched transfer that leftover 2,000 SQ residents infected with COVID-19 and 28 dead.
The offer was made just prior to May 17, 2021, when the SQ COVID-19 outbreak was put on trial in the Marin County Superior Court.
When I first heard about this, my question was, “What kind of toppings are they going to put on this pizza and is it going to be stuffed — crust with extra cheese? I got to have extra cheese,” I thought to myself. The thought of a piping hot pizza with extra cheese and other toppings really makes my mouth water.
Traditionally, prisons have a history of serving bland, tasteless and often disgusting foods as punishment for crime: foods like gruel, juke-balls, or a brownish brick called “the loaf.”
Some prisons offer bread hard enough to use during a softball game and brown water or potatoes and pea soup. Pizza is certainly a treat compared to the broth-drowned rice and rubbery near-meat we often receive here at SQ.
I could see how CDCR would expect a pizza party to boost the morale of its incarcerated residents. But in exchange, CDCR wants all 300 SQ petitioners to drop their claims of Eighth Amendment violations and deliberate indifference.
That means they’re offering some darn good pizza!
The best food I have ever eaten in my incarcerated life was when SQ cooks caught COVID-19 and the food had to be catered by an outside company.
For two weeks in July 2020, we ate sliced melons, crescent rolls, bagels and cream cheese, real chicken, beef, turkey and cheese slices. We ate macaroni and tuna salads, casseroles, fresh vegetables, Danishes and thick, soft chocolate chip cookies.
Talk about a morale booster!
Everything was cooked and seasoned to perfection. The food made me feel alive — like the man I used to be. Sadly, for many it was a sort of last meal.
For others, it led to their waist-line bursting at the seams. I ate the food even when I wasn’t hungry. But it wasn’t pizza.
There have been many times when I’d walk by the officers’ booth and see a group of them eating slices of a hot delicious-looking pizza and the aroma would drive me crazy. It would cause me some serious duress — the kind that could coerce a snitch to offer up information for a slice.
But at this point in my life, I have to think about my diet. Pizza parties, no matter how irresistible, are reserved for children. As much as I like pizza, it isn’t the first thing I crave after almost dying — not after being sickened and hearing of so many deaths.
My idea of a morale booster now would be a reduction in the prison population, more early releases, a single cell, an apology, fixing the $400,000 worth of Cal/OSHA violations, and upgrades to the prison to minimize the threat of future disease outbreaks. And of course, monetary damages for my pain and suffering.
I could probably use my stimulus money to buy some pizza.
So, if I had one wish, be-sides extra sausage, pepperoni, and cheese, I’d like to get all the things I just mentioned above in 30 minutes or less. If I cannot have them then I’d much rather press on with a lawsuit and eat gruel in the chow hall.