Who Is Anthony Stephens?

The Life and Death of a College Grad

130. Excerpt from Earl Bishop’s Prison Journal

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1-27-10:
 
Been thinking about the future a lot lately, same way I did when I first got in here. Went away for a while but it’s back now, that same uncertainty, with less of the pleasantries.
 
I keep hearing that recurring line from The Matrix in my head, like the words the entire movie runs off, the shit Morpheus and Trinity and everybody keep whispering in Neo’s ear the whole time:
 
“You’re going to have to make a choice.”
 
Everybody in that fucking movie says that to everybody else. Make a choice, make a choice, come with us or don’t, red pill or blue pill, inside the matrix or outside, live or die.
 
But, see, I feel like my choice was already made for me a long time ago. I made the initial decision, sure, but it led to a lot of other decisions that I had no control over.
 
Guess that’s what you call consequences.
 
I’m being released tomorrow. Never thought I’d make it through this. I almost feel like leaving this journal in the cell for the next person to find. Or sending it to somebody who’s on trial right now or, better yet, somebody who’s just about to do something that’s going to alter the course of their life forever. Let them know the stipulations of living a “free” life in this fucked up society.
 
But it wouldn’t matter, I know it.
 
People are going to do what they want no matter what you tell them. It’s the way nature built us, the way it’ll probably build whatever species takes our place in the future.
 
You don’t believe that, watch Planet of the Apes sometime. You might learn something, like we’re only on top now because nobody’s kicked us off yet. And that upsetting any balance in this world will always come back to bite you in the ass.
 
This isn’t a moral I’m trying to set up for you, whoever you are reading this right now. I’m just stating the truth.
 
When you die, everything you gained, everything you lost, it doesn’t matter anymore.
 
It’s the most beautiful fact in the world, and it also makes everything completely fucking pointless, which is why I know that after you’re done reading this, you’re going to go right back to what you were doing before you picked this journal up, whether it’s smoking crack or fighting in the streets or getting your degree.
 
Either way, end result’s the same, right?
 
Right.

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