Justin Barker<br />Professor David R. DiSarro<br />English 103 Section 71<br />8 September 2010<br />The Unthinkable Past ...
Student Narrative (Final)
Student Narrative (Final)
Student Narrative (Final)
Student Narrative (Final)
Student Narrative (Final)
Student Narrative (Final)
Student Narrative (Final)
Student Narrative (Final)
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Student Narrative (Final)

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Student Narrative (Final)

  1. 1. Justin Barker<br />Professor David R. DiSarro<br />English 103 Section 71<br />8 September 2010<br />The Unthinkable Past of Myself<br />Sitting in a small diner, the kind where you feel everyone working there is family; it all begins to come back to me. My girlfriend’s father begins talking about people stealing things and as we all know that will generally follow with a lecture of how terrible these people are and that they need to be locked away for life because they broke the law and did wrong. Up until almost a year before I would have sat there nodding my head in agreement, but unfortunately my perspective had changed. I now found myself sitting at the table, chewing my food, remaining quiet and hoping that I wasn't giving myself away. I thought to myself that I should just tell what had happened to me, but I could never bring myself to do it. I decided that this was just a consequence that I would be forced to deal with. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that many of you probably have a similar way of thinking, the kind that will judge me or look at me differently after you know what I've done. I've accepted that and it doesn't bother me anymore because I have taken away from my experience some invaluable truths and due to those I feel that I have made this troubled moment into a positive that will benefit me for the remainder of my time on this earth. Allow me to explain this to you.<br />My story goes back to the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school. I was working at a golf course, had met some new friends and was enjoying life. I had begun to go out with one of the guys after work and steal car parts from the backs of dealerships. If you've ever been around the back, you will notice that some places keep wrecked cars in the back of their lots. Why these cars were here I have no idea, but I do know that they were the kind of cars that looked like they had been t-boned by a semi and then forced through a building. Knowing no one was ever going to drive these off the lot I didn't have any problem taking the parts, which consisted of cold air intakes, radios, etc. We never got in trouble and usually just had a good time hanging out. That fun ended when I quit my job for football and school started up. Let’s jump forward a bit now.<br />November rolls around and it's the week before state where we will be going for our fourth straight state title. An injury to my knee has put me out of the game entirely, but the energy surrounding the game still exists. For those of you who have never been in a state game it is an unbelievably euphoric feeling. Anyways, my dad and I got into it, there was pushing and screaming and fists being thrown. It's funny now; I don't even remember what started it. I do remember that it ended with me packing a bag full of clothes, going to my moms and returning only once to load up my jeep with my stuff. To this day, I still do not have much of a relationship at all with my father and stepmother and I have made it my goal to try and mend things between us. I don't blame what I did on this, I take full responsibility for my actions, but I want you to fully have an understanding for what I was going through. Back to state, to sum it all up...we lost. It was devastating, but it only made me more focused. We began lifting like crazy, giving it all we had in order to make it to state again next year. I'm five foot six inches and I weigh one hundred and forty pounds, but I was throwing up over two hundred on bench and my legs were strong enough to carry any of our linemen on my back for a good ways. I wasn't scared of anyone and I was ready to prove everyone wrong. I was dying for that first defensive play so that I could just put one of the other guys on their ass and show that I meant business. I also began partying like never before. I'm not talking about twenty kids sharing a six pack either, I'm talking a real party with loud music, drugs, sex and enough alcohol to get the entire school tipsy. I and five of my guy friends who were also juniors were spending every second with four of the senior girls. Everyone from our grade hated us cause we quit hanging out with them, everyone from the senior class was jealous cause we took their girls and that we wouldn't let them party with us and the teachers, they thought we were the scum of the Earth. The guys and I would go out 'bargain shopping' as we liked to call it and we would come out of a store with whatever we wanted. We did this a few times a week, making trips to Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Kohl's, Dick's and my personal favorite, Target. We started getting really good at it, especially me because my smaller hands could fit into packages a lot easier. We developed a sort of system for ourselves, words that meant things like king which meant that we were being watched and was to drop whatever goods we had and leave the store immediately. We also had some unwritten rules like don't get greedy, don't spend too much time in the store, always scope the place out to find out where there were no cameras before stealing anything and the most important rule of all, if you ever got caught never ever snitch on the others. This went on for months, I even got myself a big coat and cut a slit in the lining so that I could drop CD's down there and even if I was asked to empty my pockets no one would be able to know that I had anything on me. I stole whatever I wanted. I even took an ornament off the Christmas tree in Clay Terrace, the bulbs bigger than your head, just because I wanted it. I even added it up one time and I was at around three to three and a half thousand dollars worth of stolen goods. For me, it was an adrenaline rush. My heart would start racing the moment I walked into a store. People kept saying I needed to stop, that I was going to get caught, but I wouldn't listen, I was untouchable.<br />December 22, 2008, started off like any other day for me. I had gone out the night before with the girl I was talking to from the group and we saw the Christmas lights together. Needless to say I was in a good mood as things were going well for us and for me. She was doing something with her family that evening and so I decided I was going out with the guys to do a little Christmas shopping. I went and got her gift, which I did pay for as she made me promise I would do. If you know me well you will find out that promises mean a lot to me, I don't break mine and I don't forget when others break theirs. Anyways, I got myself some cologne from Kohl's and then we went over to Dick's were I got myself some Tap Out shorts and beanie. We'd already been to Wal-Mart where I had gotten a movie and something else which I cannot remember now what it was. Anyways, at Dick's we met up with my buddy from the golf course and me and another friend decided to go to Steak-N-Shake with him instead of heading home with the other guys. We dined and dashed from Steak-N-Shake and then headed to Meijer for a little more shopping to finish the night. I had never personally stolen anything from Meijer, although I did help my friend from the golf club steal a gps system one time. We went into Meijer and all I planned on doing was getting a gift bag to put her present into, but when we walked past the aisle of movies my buddy decided to get something and so we stopped to 'shop'. I'm really not sure how it got started, but we just kept going because there were no cameras in that section at the time. We broke our first two rules, don't get greedy and don't spend too much time in the store and it cost us. As we walked out of the store, a huge guy stepped in front of us and two more surrounded us. A lot of people ask me why I didn't run, a lot of people tell me how they would've been bad asses and taken off, but trust me in a moment like that you freeze. Your fight or flight response doesn't know what to do and by the time you decide to get the hell out of there it is too late. I remember walking to the security room thinking to myself that this had to be about something else, there was no way that I could have gotten caught. When we got to the room they sat us down and informed us that they had undercover security that had spotted one of my friends stealing something. We were asked to empty our pockets. They informed us that they were going to call our parents and that when the police arrived they would be taking us. I was able to text my mom and tell her that I was sorry and I was able to text the girl I was talking to and also tell her that I was sorry. The officer came, handcuffed us, and me and my friend were taken straight to the juvenile center. My other friend was released automatically on bail since he was over eighteen. The cop that took us was a pretty cool guy and let us talk to him and to each other. I'm not sure why but I never really freaked out, my heart never started racing and I remained calm the whole ride from Carmel to Noblesville where I would find out what it was like to spend time in a small room all alone.<br />When we got the juvenile center, the cop took us in and sat us down. They removed our shoes, belts, took our phones and put us into a padded room together. It wasn't the type of padding you're probably thinking of, this was rubber and there were no seats and no toilet, only a small drain in the middle of the room. We sat in there for what seemed like an hour before they called my friend out. I remained in the room for about another hour just waiting for them to call me out so I could figure out what was going on. When they did pull me out, they had me stand against the wall while they patted me down for weapons. Then they had me stand against a wall while they asked me some basic questions and then they gave me questions I had to answer to check that I was not going to commit suicide. The guy that was helping the guy asking questions was a total jerk and seemed to have only one job, making you feel like a piece of shit. If you have ever seen the movie The Departed, he was kind of like Mark Wahlberg's character when they are interviewing Leonardo Vicario and Matt Damon towards the beginning of the movie. After that they took a mug shot, took my fingerprints and let me take a shower. The shower was the hottest that I have ever had in my life; I would seriously stand in it for a second and then immediately jump to side to avoid what felt like water coming straight from hell. There were not any controls on it so turning it down was not an option. I quickly showered and threw on my new outfit; an orange and white striped jump suit, biodegradable underwear that looked like a fishnet and some orange slip on shoes. I do have to say that the pants were rather comfortable. They put a wristband on me that looked like one from a hospital, gave me a basket with my stuff and put me in my cell. If you've never been in these cells they are small, the beds are uncomfortable, there is a light in them that always stays on, there are no windows, and only a toilet, sink and a terrible mirror. In the basket I had toothpaste, a toothbrush, a thin blanket which did nothing for you in the cold cell, a sheet, and my only source of entertainment which was a booklet about the rules that I had to take a test over the next day.<br />I'm not the type of person that has dreams very often, but every time I fell asleep while I was in there I would have a dream. I would dream of breaking out and being with my family and friends and they would seem so real that I would wake up and not believe I was still there. There isn't much to tell you about from being inside because all I really did was sleep. The excitement of the second day was that I got to call my mom for ten minutes and talk to her. We only came out of our cells to get food and then go back in to eat it and to clean our cells which had to be done daily. I passed my test which was no big deal and late that night they transferred us to section D which was really just a group of cells. We got a small desktop and stool which were connected and bolted onto the wall. Not much of a plus for good behavior, but then again I'm not too sure what I expected.<br />The next morning we woke up for shower and I asked the guard what time it was and he told me five thirty. I was shocked; there were no windows or clocks so you really had no idea if it was day or night. Later that day, they called me and my friend out and had us clean our cells and then they took us to another part of the juvenile center. When you walk in there you stand against a wall and you do not talk. We got to this other part and they put on us ankle shackles, handcuffs, locked it all together with a leather belt that went around our waist and we got into the sheriff's transport van. We couldn't see where we were going but we knew that it had to be to court. When we arrived, we went into a holding cell where there was just a bench for us to sit on. We waited there for awhile before they moved us to another holding cell, this one had a toilet and I really had to pee. Unfortunately, they don't show sympathy for you and if you've never tried to pee with your hands stuck to your waist then let me tell you that it isn't easy. Somehow I managed to get it done and sit down before they came and took me into the courtroom. When I got in there my mom and dad were both sitting at a table and the officer placed me between them. They read my crime which was a class D felony of theft with the intent to steal since I had a pocket knife with me when I entered the store. I had four hundred dollars worth of stolen goods on me at the time and I was being released on a month of parental house arrest followed by six months of probation, twenty community service hours, a letter of apology, multiple fees to be paid and I had to pass a course which was the stealers version of alcoholics anonymous. I told my dad goodbye and turned to face my mom who gave me a hug and told me that she loved me with tears in her eyes. Up until this point, I hadn't shed a single tear but at that moment when my mom hugged me and told me that I broke down. I don't know what it was about that that hit me so hard but whatever it was it felt like a freight train just ran over me and then backed up to do it again. I made my way back to the holding cell and sat and waited while my friend went in to hear his punishment. By the time he made it back I had pulled myself together and when he told me he'd be going home too I couldn't help but smile.<br />We rode back in the sheriff's van and they gave us our socks, underwear, pants and shirt that we had on the day we got arrested, took off our bracelet and then put us back in solitary. I still am not sure what took so long, but we waited in there for what seemed like an hour before they finally came and got us. We were given a bag with our belt, phone, shoes and all that in it and told not to open it until we were with our parents. They escorted us to a completely different part of the center where we met with our parents. My mom, stepmother and my father were there and I gave them all hugs. My stepfather would've been there, but he is a fireman and was on duty that day. I left with my mom after a few minutes and we stopped by Wendy's on the way home so I could get myself some real food. The food in there was about like school food, some good, some bad, but mostly bad. I turned on my phone and had lots of new messages. I don't remember who all I talked to, but I do remember having a few text from a good friend of mine, Eric, asking me what I was up to and if I wanted to hang out. They were from two days before, I replied to him letting him know that I wasn't ignoring him, but had been arrested and spent the last few days locked up. He was shocked and we talked about it and that was about it. I got home, took a shower and threw on some fresh clothes. It was Christmas Eve and I had a family thing to go to that evening. When I got there it was like everyone had their own bit of advice for me. I have a huge family and so most of these people I almost never talked to and they had never been there for me before so I would just hear what they said and walk away. Fortunately, my aunt Casey was there and helped to keep me away from people because she could see what was going on. I wound up spending a month and a half on house arrest because my probation officer didn't show up to the meeting to let me off after a month and I never broke the rules of it which the hardest one was not having people over. My parents insisted that we follow the rules, but they did give me one break and let me have the girl I was talking to over for the Super Bowl. Anyways, I got off house arrest and then had only my six months of probation left.<br />Sometime during my probation, I got the genius idea to steal something again with a friend of mine. I took a pack of playing cards and he took something else. When we got back to his house, the girls came over and when mine found out what I had done I don't know that I've ever seen someone so disappointed and pissed off. She walked out of the house and I chased after her. Once outside, she flipped on me and threatened to not talk to me again. This girl had by this time become my best friend and I was not about to let that happen. I promised her I would never do it again and I am proud to say that I haven't broken that promise to her to this day. You might wonder why it took that to make me stop, why being arrested wasn't enough and honestly I do not have answer to that question. I've pondered it myself many times and I've never come to an honest conclusion. Whatever the reason, I stopped and I got off probation no problem.<br />Since then, I've reflected many times in an attempt to learn all of the lessons hidden in that experience and here's what I have learned. I have learned that your true friends will not judge you and will stand by you no matter what happens; that your family will always love you no matter what you do, and that no matter how bad you fuck things up, you do have the power to start over again and make light of your situation. I have used this experience to motivate me to really take life more seriously. I began working on my passion which is business. I decided to not play football and instead developed a business plan, took it to the 2010 Young Entrepreneur's Business Plan Competition and placed second. I started my business and I am now working on my second business which has an opening day of this Halloween. I have been featured in multiple magazines, newspapers, etc. for my accomplishments. I was even selected as student of the month at my school and was in a video for the school talking about what I have done. I spend my free time connecting with other business owners, investors and other like-minded people. I was even asked to speak about my business experience at a networking event in front of lots of people who had, in my opinion, accomplished far more than me. I have connected with some very wealthy and famous people; I have learned a lot from them and have made good friends with some of them. I still am friends with the same people I used to hang out with, but we all seem to have gone our separate ways and don't hang out nearly as often as we used to. I did go on to become best friends with one of the guys that I used to hang out with and I think a lot that has to do with that is the fact that we both started taking things more seriously. He is now playing football for Anderson University and is a true freshman starter on the team. I also am now dating that girl and we've been together for over a year now. She transferred from Ball State after a year and is a sophomore at Baylor University now which makes things difficult, but I believe we'll be fine and I have every intention of moving down there next summer to take our relationship further. A lot of people have told me that a long distance relationship won't work, but we are making it work every single day.<br />So now I sit here on my bed typing this to you and I have completely turned my life around. Looking at my life now, you never would've guessed that a little less than two years ago I was spending my Christmas break in a juvenile center for theft. Now you know. Do you look at me as a different person than you originally thought? Or, maybe there is a reason that my classmates voted me as the most changed in my senior yearbook. One thing I hope that everyone realizes is that no matter where you come from or what you have done in your past, none of it determines where you will be in the future. It is what you choose to do with today, and the next day and every single one that follows that will determine who you are in the future. I hope that you choose to improve your future and that you never give up on someone despite their past, but rather strive to put them on the right path so that we all can create a better future together.<br />Justin –<br />As I said with your first draft, great job. In fact, with your permission, I’d like to use this as an example for future classes. Well done.<br />~D.<br />P.S. Where is your explanation of your visual?<br />94/100<br />

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