In one of O'Henry's wonderful short stories, "The Cop and the Anthem," a
bum homeless man is trying to get himself thrown in jail for the three months of winter, because who wants to spend winter on the streets? He keeps failing and trying ever more elaborate law-breaking schemes until, finally, he is overcome with a sense of his own worthlessness while standing in front of a church and vows to make something of his life. This being an O'Henry story, it is at that precise moment of revelation that a cop nabs him, and he gets thrown in the slammer for three months. Now, in a modern, real-life imitation of that artful story, some chucklehead decided to get away from his mountain of debt by letting a prison take care of him for the rest of his life, so he shot a postal worker. How do you punish someone like that? Makes you wonder how O'Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" would play out in real life today. Let's see . . . the husband sells his crack pipe to buy his wife a tattoo, but she's rented out all the space on her body for porn-ad tattoos so she can buy him some crack.