The Star Trek Shirt

Today I’d like to write about a friend of mine named Shane.  For the past 5 weeks, Derek and I meet in Shane’s room every night at 8:30 to pray for each other and discuss our day.  Basically a way to support one another.

Shane is here on sex offender charges.  As you know, these type of people get treated poorly by many others.  Luckily for Shane, many of the inmates near his room treat him respectfully.  Nonetheless, not all inmates are like that.  I make sure not to judge anyone here.  We are all in the same boat.

As I have gotten to know Shane better, he shared with me his story about how the Almighty was watching over him.  Ironically, it has to do with a Star Trek shirt.

Shane said he was never a person that goes shopping for clothes.  He would rather wear worn out clothes than buy new.  Nonetheless, his dad gave him money with the expressed purpose to buy new clothes, so he could avoid seeing him in shabby clothes.  So off to Wal-Mart he went.  He went to the discount racks and came across a grey t-shirt with a Star Trek logo  for only $3.  Shane was not a “Trekkie” whatsoever, but $3 for a new shirt was a great deal so he’d have extra funds to buy beer which at the time seemed way more useful.  Little did he know the journey that Star Trek shirt would take him on.

The first incident was at Subway.  The resident sandwich artist noticed he was wearing that Star Trek shirt.  Assuming he was a big fan, she started grilling him (no pun intended) about all things Star Trek.  Who’s your favorite character?  Favorite series?  Favorite movie?  Shane has never watched any of the TV series and only made it through 1 movie.  Shane said he played it cool and distracted her by having her fill his sub with every vegetable and condiment.  He was glad to have left.

The next encounter with the shirt was when he left a doctor’s appointment.  A total stranger saw him wearing the Star Trek shirt and started asking him similar questions about who his favorite character is and such.  Shane was like not again.  He was starting to have regrets buying this shirt.

The next encounter happened at his niece’s graduation party.  He donned the shirt thinking nothing of it until one of his niece’s friends kept calling him “Star Trek dude”.  Hey “Star Trek dude”, want some chips?  Hey “Star Trek dude” want some soda?

Now the story takes an ominous turn.  Shane was involved in criminal activity and taken into custody and guess what shirt he was wearing when the Feds got him?  That’s right, the Star Trek shirt.  While surrounded by recently arrested men awaiting intake processing, he was again interrogated about the Star Trek shirt.  Shane was seriously regretting wearing or even owning this shirt.  At this point in the story, I asked Shane why he kept wearing it.  He said because all his other clothes were in really bad shape.

After intake, he was transported to another holding cell with 30 to 40 other inmates.  There were a couple friendly guys that he visited with.  When the time came to go to a cell for the night, they were allowed to pick someone to room with.  Shane is not very outgoing, but luckily one guy he met asked him to be his bunkie.

At this point, they were stripped out of their street clothes before being issued a prison uniform.  Everyone is given the opportunity to have their clothes destroyed or sent home.  Shane said with emphasis, “BURN THEM!!!” 

He spent the next 4 days locked in his 2 man cell, 24 hours a day.  In this environment you really rely on the person with you for any and all social contact.  Shane was lucky to have a bunkie in this environment because I did not have a bunkmate for 17 days.  His bunkie was a friendly young man from his home state of Wisconsin.  They provided each other emotional support and friendship, if only for a few days.  Shane came to realize that he could and would meet good people in prison.

On their final morning together, the young man asked Shane, “Do you want to know why I asked you to be my cellmate?”  Shane replied eagerly, “Yes”. 

The answer was, “Your Star Trek shirt.” 

Now Shane understood why he had purchased that shirt.  It linked him to a young man that helped him get through the initial days of prison which I can personally tell you are the hardest days.  Shane no longer regretted owning or wearing that shirt.  What appeared to be a cursed object at the beginning turned out to be a blessed one in the end.

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