Martha, my dear.

by James K. Sayre

7 March 2004

Guess all those tongue-in-cheek stories about Martha knitting or crocheting her jail-cell cozies will receive some real-time tests in the coming months. The "Club Fed" at Lompoc, California, has tennis courts for the low-security inmates, so Martha will not have to be bothered with knitting an escape rope to flee from that federal prison.

Within America's prison walls, there lives a vast brand new previously untapped market for Martha: America's vast prison population, numbering about two million or so folks, will present a new and challenging market for Martha and her own special cornucopia filled with ideas of how to improve your life. Now she will face the special challenge of doin' time behind bars. Hmm. Why, this calls for a complete prison makeover, I do believe. Yes. They say that "No Martha is an island" and how right they are.

Interior Decorating hints:


"Bars do not a prison make," but they sure help and they are a dull gray color to boot. Get some colorful ribbons from the prison commissary. If they can't supply you, get some of your friends "on the outside" to send you a nice selection.

Wrap those nasty old cold steel prison bars with the colorful ribbons. Change color combinations each month. Try traditional red and green for December. Try red, white and blue for July. Try orange and black for October. Try pink and blue to celebrate the coming offspring for the June brides and grooms. Appropriate for both June and the following February (nine months later, the blessed event will surely happen!). Try gold and brown in September to celebrate the traditional Autumn harvests. You get the idea. Be creative for those other months.


Wall calendars are considered traditional de rigueur decorations for folks doin' hard time in the Big House. Of course, Martha would not look kindly upon the traditional male "girlie" calendars. She would have tasteful outdoor scenes to remind her of her past freedom to create and to sell and to not be locked up in this darned joint.

Your personal wall calendar:

In additional to a good sturdy annual wall calendar, you also need a good permanent black marking pen for Xing out those days, each day, day by day, day after day. You may want to vary on traditional prison folkways and employ some more colorful magic markers in their place. You may want to frame each month of those 28-to-31 Xs for your hope box. Hope to get the fark out of here, that is, man, this joint is a stone drag. I wanna feel some good vibrations. Say, does the commissary sell any "D" size batteries?

Making license plates

Maybe Martha can help to revive that currently moribund traditional prison industry, the making of license plates, to spring to life again. If these jobs have not already been outsourced to cheap labor in nations abroad, then there may be an opportunity here for Martha. There could be a sort of joint venture between the prison and Martha, Inc., which would produce designer license plates, with a "Made by Martha" logo added at the bottom. This could be a very highly profitable business and thus be a "win-win" situation for all concerned.


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