'Good things' in stir

Posted: Jul 05, 2002 12:00 AM
I don't care if she's guilty of insider trading or not. I want Martha Stewart to go to prison just because of all the "Good Things" she could do in the slammer. Besides, the Big House could use her special touches more than the pricey edifices Martha calls home. I can see features for the first prison issue of Living now. Mashed potatoes for 5,000. Out with the old recipe that starts with 2,500 cups of instant mashed potatoes, then add water and stir. It only takes a few extra hours -- and we're not going anywhere, are we girls? -- to boil real potatoes, rice them, then hand-whip in some cream and butter. It's easier if you find 45 friends to help you. How to concoct a dandy pruno appertif? Most cons will take any food bits and store them in a sealed baggie waiting for the food to turn to goo and ferment. The key to good pruno, however, is discernment. Only use grapes and other fruits, and add a sprig of peppermint. Don't serve in a disposable plastic cup. Halve oranges, remove the segments and serve the pruno chilled -- if possible -- in festive orange rind cups. Then use the rinds for the next batch of pruno. Grow an endive garden in your cell. Old sneakers make nifty containers for soil. If you don't have access to real dirt, start a little compost bin in a tin can in a corner of your cell. If you don't compost meat or dairy products, it won't smell. You can use coffee grounds. Fill the sneaker with soil and plant the endive seeds carefully. Water when the soil is dry to the touch. Try to place the sneaker near your light bulb. Good presents for the pungent cellmate: Maybe your cellmate doesn't shower much because she doesn't like the soap. The Martha collection has an excellent selection of fun soaps and cachets you can leave in her sheets if the soaps don't work. How to make a small room look bigger? One word: Mirrors. Turn prison-issue spoons into cheerful Christmas ornaments. Just because you miss your family and your freedom, it doesn't mean Christmas needs to be a downer. Cheer up the common room with festive ornaments. Take a spoon and place it on plain cardboard or other paper easily cut with blunted children's scissors. Cut out wings in the cardboard and attach to the spoon with used gum. Voila, you have a prison angel. Hang the angels by wrapping thread around where the cardboard and spoon meet, crisscrossing to give the look of a bodice. Add special touches to your presidential pardon letters. Prison-issue toilet paper is sufficiently coarse that you can press 10 leaves of it together, add some lavender scent and place them under your bedding for a month, and you'll have terrific paper for a cover note. Of course, terrific notepaper will only go so far for inmates with bad penmanship. It's important to work on that penmanship so that it is both stylish and legible. Don't write a letter longer than one page; no one will read it. Sign your name with a flourish, followed with a hand-drawn picture of a sad face behind bars.