Day 36: Paula Abdul Dream, Farewell Letters, and My Obituary

by Brian A. Wilkins

1/22/09

This day corresponds with Tuesday, August 26, 2008.

Another day, another incidence of me waking up in this place. I just woke up in the middle of a dream with Paula Abdul in it. I asked her out on a date and she said yes. What was really funny is when I asked her if she and Ryan Seacrest ever dated? She said, “no, I just have sex with him!” Then she said she hated Ringo Starr; I wasn’t even sure where that came from. Right when she started fixing the collar on my shirt and rubbing my leg, I woke up…in here. I’d rather die and infinitely dream than be in here (dreamed about the 1980s Whitney Houston too). Walter, Rodney, and Oscar were hanging around in the cell that morning and I was telling them about the Paula Abdul dream. “Oh, the American Idol chick?” Walter asked. Being all these guys are under 22 years old, most only 18, they only know Paula Abdul from that dumb-ass show I’ve never seen one episode of. I had to educate them on the “Forever Your Girl” album, all the #1 hits, and the fact she’s always been fine and talented. Walter and Oscar seemingly didn’t believe me when I told them of her success. Kids and cheese TV nowadays.

I started writing letters to anyone and everyone I could think of that may actually care or notice I’m gone. I wrote my mom a letter that spanned a good 12 pages; which I’ll actually send. There are several friends I need to write; even though I don’t have their addresses with me, they can get the letters once I’m gone. Today is an ex-girlfriend’s birthday who I never quite completely got over. I wrote her this really bad, really sappy letter that she’ll likely never get. I do kind of wonder how life would be had I stayed with her…I probably wouldn’t be sitting in jail. But I screwed that up, just like I apparently screwed up my life now. Wonder how my lifelong friend Michelle is doing? She was going through a divorce the day I was arrested. I was supposed to go visit her in Kansas City, but I felt really self-conscience about being in public or around people with that broken hand. Geez, had I went to visit her, none of this would have happened. My friend Brian from back home is getting married soon, and I’m going to miss that. Never thought that kid would get married! I wrote 10 letters today, only one of which will actually get sent; the rest can be picked up after I’m gone.

While Rodney and I were having our almost-daily 10-12 hour chat, the Unabrotha came into the cell with tears in his eyes. The prosecutor in his case offered him a plea deal of 17-25 years in prison. I kind of wanted to be honest and just say something like “what the hell do you expect?” to him, judging from all the stuff he told me he’s done. But you can’t do that in this place. Everyone needs some human love every now and then in here since you’re treated like an animal about to be euthanized the rest of the time. 

I read this article in a magazine from 2001 (since the only magazines lying around here are at least 2 years old) this woman wrote. She says everyone should write their own obituary before they die. She was speaking to a class of students who recently had one of their classmates commit suicide. Her assignment to all the kids was to go home, write your own obituary, illustrating any and all accomplishments you’ve already achieved and what you will have achieved by the time you die. When the students were finished, she told them to go live the life they just wrote about. I thought this was interesting and therapeutic, so I wrote my obituary.

Note: This is a truncated version. I averaged out the age of my closest relatives who have died to come up with my dying age (if I make it out of here) of 72.

Brian A. Wilkins lived an interesting life of sadness, triumph, and ultimately success. He went to several different schools in three different towns as a child, which shaped who he would become. He was a late-bloomer, since he drank a lot, lived in 7 different states, and worked various radio broadcasting and DJ jobs throughout his 20s.

Wilkins graduated with honors from Arizona State University and enrolled at Drake Law School in Des Moines, IA the following year. During his law school years, he had a morning radio show which drew a national audience. He spoke directly to young Nubian kids and ultimately was responsible for removing the term “black” from American vernacular when referring to his people; similar to the now obsolete terms “colored” and “negro.” He raised millions of dollars and opened a private K-12 school in central Iowa. Today, it houses more than 1500 gifted students from all across the country who would have otherwise been forced to attend the inadequate public school in their respective urban area.

After 8 years of private law practice and doing his radio show, Brian was elected mayor of his hometown. After only one year on the job, he successfully won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He spear-headed the national REPO Act, requiring all law enforcement officers in the United States to have at least a 4-year college degree and was the primary negotiator in the pact which would ultimately create a Palestinian State and create two new staunch U.S. allies: Iran and Syria. 

He is survived by his wife, three children and eight grandchildren.

Boy, that all sounds good. Too bad I’ll be dead in a few weeks. 

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