Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Prison Food, Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work

Mad Women

Is that you reading Nancy Drew?
It's been a busy month so far:  Finished writing Part I.  (Almost) finished taxes. Watched 4 seasons of Mad Men.  Check. Check. Check.


In regards to the first project, I felt like the writing went well.  I may have gotten a bit carried away at some points but, hey, I figure if Eliot can get emotional, so can I.  


In regards to the taxes, a word of advice.  If you or the person with whom you file taxes ever decides to open a clinical private practice, make sure everyone is clear that you're looking at a hobby, not a source of income. Unless you want to put in hundreds of hours and hire a collection agency to do your dirty work.  As far as I can tell, the only kind private practice worth investing in involves Kate Walsh.  Plus, the small business hobby makes your taxes clumsy.  Stick with jobs that will send you a nice, neat W-2.  If you're lucky, you might even get health benefits.


In regards to everyone's favorite AMC series, I think "Mad Men" should be called "Mad Women."  Who cares about those creepy guys?  Drunk, womanizers who just want to look in the mirror all day. Pleeze. The women on that show are a million times more interesting.  Wise and sexy Joan. Smart and ambitious Peggy. Mean and self-absorbed Betty. Loyal and enthusiastic Trudy. Kind and discrete Carla. Brave Sally.  Which one are you? I tried to figure that out myself.  Want to be Joan. Wish I am Peggy.  Fear I am Betty. Perceived as Trudy? Not Carla (way too calm). Once was Sally, might be again someday... The beauty of the show is that we are all the characters. Sounds like a cliché because it is.  But it's also true.


I wonder how the Mad Women would do in prison.  Can't you picture Betty on the Tier?  Watch out. The women in my dissertation are just as intriguing and more because they are actually real people.  Although sometimes I do wonder, is this an AMC series? Does all this really go on?


When P17 got locked up, she developed severe migraines and couldn't sleep for days. She was identified as suicidal and placed under 24 hour observation in, as she called it, the "psych ward."  During this 24 hour period, her glasses, which she needs to see, were removed.  Her clothes and shoes were also taken, presumably to reduce suicide hazards, and she was given a velcro gown and a thin blanket. Now wouldn't that make you feel better if you had a headache and couldn't sleep?  But wait, it gets better: cold chili and no utensils.


P17:  They give you these Styrofoam “to go” containers.  And that’s it.  It was always ice cold.  And, no spork.  You had to break off the corner of the container… My first – it was dinner time by the time I actually gotten out to Q15 and it was chili for dinner. And I’m like, “How am I supposed to eat this?”  [The CO] said, “Break off the corner of the container.”  And that’s….  it was nasty. [No utensils is] a safety thing, they’re not giving you the utensils. 



If utensils are an issue, don't serve chili. If that doesn't make you mad, woman, I don't know what will.