BOULDER, Colo. — Welcome to the mile-high federal prison in Colorado, Rod Blagojevich.
Perhaps you made your request to hang at the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood based on that 2006 Forbes list of the top 12 federal prisons? Nothing but the best for a former Illinois governor. And you preferred not to join fellow former convicted governor George Ryan closer to home in Terre Haute, Ind.?
In any case, you’ll be in good company with former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling. Perhaps the two of you can debate whether your fate is better than that of Enron Chairman Ken Lay, who died of a heart attack in Aspen, Colo, before he could be sentenced.
You could chat about the weather — and Skilling’s older brother, Tom, the WGN-TV meteorologist.
Or maybe you can compare the relative value of, say, U.S. Senate seats or natural gas company stock.
Certainly, you’re better off in Englewood than the Supermax in Florence, Colo., officially known as the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum. Skilling has got to be way better company than Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, Atlanta Centennial Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph or any of the numerous Al-Qaeda terrorists serving time there.
While spending the next 12 years or so here in Colorado, you’ll want to start out by drinking plenty of water and adjusting to the altitude. Jogging around the prison track might seem easy the first day or two, but it'll get tougher as the altitude takes hold. Then again, you’ve got plenty of time — years, really — to adjust.
Right now, we’ve got a good streak of warm spring weather going. You can take in the views of the snowcapped Rocky Mountains, but you won’t be able to reach out and touch them through that barbed-wire fence.
But don’t let this warm weather fool you. Colorado is known for two-foot snowstorms in late March and even April. That snow will be heavy if you’re assigned to shovel duty outdoors. But indoors, table tennis, pool and foosball games with your new besties await.
Meanwhile, enjoy cleaning those toilets or landscaping your new surroundings.
Beyond that, there won’t be much to do in Englewood. So you’ll have plenty of time to ponder this question:
Was trying to sell that Senate seat really worth all this?
Sandra Fish teaches journalism at the University of Colorado and has reported on politics in Iowa, Florida and Colorado. Follow her on Twitter at @fishnette.