I’m about to finish the book, The Second Chance Club, by Jason Hardy. The book is an inside look at the New Orleans probation system, seen through the eyes of a former probation officer, the author himself.
It’s a sobering look at what happens to young men in the inner-city when they find themselves out of work, pressed for money, and have too much time on their hands. As a point of clarification, the offenders Hardy covers in the book were all born into the circumstances that absorbed them. Most are the children of drug attics and dealers and never had a shot at a better life. A few were born already addicted. They were given losing tickets in the lottery of birth.
When I began the book a couple of weeks ago, I was self-employed, earning a respectable living, had more of everything than I need, and still had enough free time to enjoy life‘s rich pageant. By comparison to the offenders Hardy describes in his book, it seemed I’d won the lottery of life. Those who know me hear me say that frequently.
Now, just three-quarters of the way through the 260 page book, I have no source of income, too much time on my hands, and no immediate hope of getting out of this situation. Suddenly, I have more in common with the offenders in Hardy’s book than I could’ve imagined when I began it just a couple weeks ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting at the edge of my seat entertaining how I might make a living selling drugs or committing petty burglaries. My current plight though, offers me a context into this book about criminal life that wasn’t there on page-1. Suddenly, it’s all more relatable.
It’s interesting to think about — that whole lottery of birth thing. I think most people never give that much consideration — that our ZIP Codes at birth are our lottery numbers. Growing up, my older brother took time to help me understand how fortunate we were compared to kids in other parts of the world and other parts of the country. The older I get, the more I think Lottery Of Birth should be a class taught in early elementary school — so we all might have a better understanding from an early age.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
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