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  • Brian Martin

The Prisoner Paradox

June 18, 2020:

Do you ever feel like a prisoner? Trapped in your own eight by ten-foot cell. Sometimes, you may even have to double up with somebody else and share the same crapper. That would be the worst. Wouldn’t it? Maybe, you’ve been allowed to keep a couple of personal items with you, a few pictures and some books. That would be nice. If you were imprisoned in Norway, your cell might be a little larger and you might even have a private bathroom along with a view of the courtyard. We can dream, right?

My daughter is coming to visit me today. I know, I don’t have female offspring in the real world, but in this scene that I’m performing for my online class I do. She’s in her early twenties and lives with my estranged wife. I say estranged because I’m not really certain if we’re even still together. From what I’m gathering she kicked me out. Okay, maybe I overreacted a little when I caught her in bed with another man, but whaddaya gonna do? I mean, the bitch has a serious drug problem so I couldn’t really take it out on her, could I?

I run a small crew, but it’s hard to keep them in-line when I’m behind bars. Jenna, my only child and my only link to the outside world helps me out by passing instructions along on my behalf. She also feeds me information and puts money in my commissary which can sometimes make my life a little easier on the inside, but she’s keeping secrets from me, I’m certain of it.

Still, I’m always happy to see her but this morning some rat bastard stole my soap and I had to shower with just water, so don’t blame me if I’m in a foul mood, but don’t worry either because when I find out who did it I’ll take care of him in the usual manner, just like I always do. You see that’s one of my problems, I’ve got a temper and it’s constantly getting in my way.

It’s not overly challenging to feel like a prisoner right now considering how we’ve spent the last several weeks in social isolation, trapped behind these metaphorical bars. “Three hots, a cot, and sex twice a day whether we want it or not”. Right? Well…at least that’s the saying anyways.

So, I’ve been doing some research online trying to get ready for this role and I came across an article called The Prisoner Paradox, which basically outlines eight reasons why a person may feel imprisoned in their own freedom and the limiting attitude that prevents them from realizing their full potential. Things like a lack of self-motivation, passiveness, procrastination and basically just operating on autopilot.

You know how it is, get out of bed, get on the computer, go back to bed, repeat. One day leads to another and before you know it the week has come to an end and it’s Sunday again (don’t get me wrong, I do look forward to Sunday dinner). With most everything being done online these days though it’s pretty easy to fall into this trap, and quite frankly that was probably the recipe for a lot of people’s lives anyway even before the social isolation, just add the commute.


Interestingly for me, this week has been and will be rather hectic. Not only is it my son’s commencement this week, which is fantastic, but I also got an audition request from my agent for a (Hallmark) movie. This will be my first self-tape audition and it’s quite a departure from playing a prisoner. In this one I’m a self-made millionaire trying to get my son, who designs houses to come join my business, meanwhile my daughter is getting married on the upcoming weekend presumably at my sprawling estate in the Hamptons.

I know in my real world that I’ve been very blessed with a wonderful family, good friends and beautiful surroundings. In fact, I would argue that if I’m living in a prison at all it might even be upscale from the Norway standard, but as strange as it may sound, living The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is not a bad escape plan either.

Until next time.

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