I admit it.
I was happy when I found out that I got a piece of fan mail sent to the theater. The stage manager told me a couple of days back that I had received something in the mail, but I wasn't going to have a show for the next couple of days, so I decided to retrieve it at a later time. A sort of unexpected expected surprise if you will.
When I pulled up in the parking lot after doing warm-ups, the first thing that popped into my head was not, "Let's get focused and ready to do an awesome show tonight," instead it was "Oh! Oh! Oh! I got mail! I got mail sent to ME! I bet it has a stamp on it and everything." I went straight to the call board where the envelope had been pushed pin on. The person who had pinned it to the bulletin board was very careful in making sure that it would remain on the board, for it was pinned on three sides. Looked like the poor thing was crucified.
I unpinned, unclosed, and read my first piece of fan mail.
I then read it again. This time around a crinkled brow accompanied me. Squinty eyes, mouth kind of cocked to the side in a "huh? what?" manner.
I then looked at the envelope that had perfectly penned letters and illustrations of stars positioned in the most meticulous manner. I looked closer at the return address. Yep. My brain was telling me that what I was reading was, in fact, true.
My first piece of fan mail ever was from a guy in prison.
I think that this qualifies me as being a step closer to a rock n' roll star. Baby steps, yo. Baby steps.
I won't go into specifics of what the letter actually said. I will say that the person writing it stressed that he had seen the show before and wanted to see it again, but got incarcerated on frumped up drug charges. That sucks. He also wanted me to send stills from the show.
I wonder how many packs of smokes a still of me would go for in the tink. 2? 1? Half a stick of gum?
I walked back to the stage manager who was sitting with the assistant stage manager, talking about managing stages and stuff.
"Hey. Um. I think I just got a letter from an inmate."
"Nu-uh.," she said as I handed her the letter.
As she read it, her hand went to her now gaped mouth as her eyes darted back and forth reading what I'd just read. "He wants pictures from the show?"
"You're not going to send him any are you?"
I admit it.
I really did, for a moment, think about sending a prisoner some photos of myself. I had images of a rag tagged picture of me being taped to cider block walls, little tic marks counting the days away scrawled beneath.
"Only 2,212 days to go.," he'd whisper to it every night, cringing at the pain of his freshly Bic penned tattoo.
When I came back to reality, I recognized that too much time had passed in the space between her question and my answer.
"No. That wouldn't be smart, would it?"
"No. It would not."
I took the letter back and sighed as I walked away. But then I quickly turned back and shouted through the door, "FAN MAIL! WHOO HOO!"
So, dear inmate of the TCJD. I can't write you back. I can't send you pictures of me from the show. I just can't. I've seen too many shows on Montel and Maury and Ricki and Oprah and Carney that have proven to me time and again that corresponding with a prisoner will cause me later on down the road to be either duped, pregnant, broken-hearted, murdered or all of the above. I am sorry.
However, I would like to thank you for being the first person ever to mail me a fan letter. I can't tell you how much that made my day.
Sorry about your lack of freedom and hardships. Take care of yourself.