My friend, Joseph, opened the car door with a big grin on his face. As he slid into the passenger seat of my vehicle he said, “Remember me telling you awhile back about the prison joke concerning doing a long time in prison?” My dumbfounded look answered his question. “When I was just starting out doing time my sentence was so long that the guys on the cell block would joke that I had so much time to do that my parole officer hadn’t even been born yet.” I remembered now! “Well, I finally met him!”
I had taken my friend to meet his newly assigned parole officer. Joseph has been out of prison almost 8 years now, and doing good, but being assigned a new P.O. out of the blue can be cause for concern, so I volunteered to acompany him. We decided to make a day of it.
Joseph continued, “As I sat there answering questions by Mr. Smith, he asked a question that caught me off guard.” I was hoping Joe’s new P.O. was a nice guy…Joseph was smiling as he said, “He asked if I knew when my sentence date began. I guessed a date and he said that was close, but that I began doing my sentence on his birthday.” Ok, so what does this have to do with anything, I’m thinking, but Joe’s smile was infectious. He continued, “So I asked Mr. Smith how old he was back then. He replied, ‘I wasn’t born yet.'” Joe’s huge grin was all I needed to see! I was grinning wide now too!!
Joseph was actually sitting in front of his parole officer who hadn’t been born when Joe started doing his prison sentence. The ol’ prison quip from 28 years ago had finally come true, and both Joe and I were smiling at the irony of it!
As I drove Joseph home from his parole meeting, which went very well by the way, I couldn’t help but think that it’s the little things in life that can bring two friends together in hearty laughter. And I considered how our pasts can often collide with our present in the most ironic of ways.