Lookout For Shorts (Paperback)
A Prison Memoir
Witstream Publishing, 9781734857504, 292pp.
Publication Date: April 24, 2020
List Price: 14.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.
An arrest and conviction for trafficking ecstasy can be comical. The character-strewn path of corrections that followed is entertaining and enlightening. This is the story of a "book-learnin' smart-ass" who endured a three-year minimum-security tour of the slammer and lived to make fun of it. And who emerged a humbled and better man.Lookout For Shorts is a departure from hardcore prison fare; it is gonzo and humorous in tone. Picture the worst cruise ship imaginable, full of guests from The Jerry Springer Show, that never reaches a port. Tales abound of inmate absurdities and administrative follies juxtaposed against the coarse subculture of lockup. Along the way, Phillips unflinchingly describes his drug-dealing days, a rehab stint, and his misspent youth.We've all heard of Orange Is the New Black, the fish-out-of-water story that provided a glimpse into a fascinating micro-society. Lookout is similar but zips several steps further into humor. The main hazard the author faced was his head exploding from being immersed in a sea of weirdos and misfits. The nuttiness nearly made him forget about the ever-present threat of losing teeth and suffering fresh scars.Culled from copious journals, most of this tale is prison-based. The story begins with the arrest of a Generation X slacker, for dealing drugs at a jam band concert. Description of an upscale rehab stint and living in an AA-based halfway house follow, then the incarceration hammer comes down. In lockup, Phillips focuses more on how the other other half lives and his light-hearted cynicism gained from living in it."If you ever wanted to be the smartest person in the room, just go to state prison for a while. You'll probably be that guy the whole time," quips the author, in Sedaris-like style. Still, he ends up deeply empathizing with his downtrodden fellow felons along the way.Phillips described his odyssey thusly: "I spent most of my life lying around, killing time. This led me to the slammer, where I lied around, killing time. I ended up in prison because of a lack of dedication, patience, and my failure to postpone gratification. So after my release, I wrote a book, which requires enormous amounts of dedication, patience, and postponing gratification. It's a start "