Watch a Man Describe Modern Technology After Spending 45 Years in Prison
The Hustle

Watch a Man Describe Modern Technology After Spending 45 Years in Prison

Otis Johnson was recently released from prison after being locked away for 44 years. He was 25 when his sentence started, and 69 when he was released.

Al Jazeera just published an interview with Otis Johnson, a 69-year-old man who was recently released from prison after serving a 44-year sentence.

In the video, Johnson describes modern technology and how different the world is today than it was in 1975, the year he was locked away.

The video is touching and made me reflect on how far technology has come and if that’s a good thing or not. I particularly was loved how amazed he was when he saw people in Times Square using iPhone headphones.

The video is only 6 minutes long and a must watch. You can check it out here. Below are a few of Johnson’s best quotes about modern technology. 

On iPhones

I saw that everybody, or the majority of people, were talking to themselves. Then I looked close and they seemed to have things in their ears. iPhones they call them or something like that. And I thought to my mind, what everybody became CIA or agents or something like that? Because that’s the only thing I can think of…somebody walking around with wires in their ears. That’s what they had out in the 60’s and 70’s.

On texting while walking:

And some people are not even looking where they’re going, so I’m trying to figure out how people do that. Control themselves to walk and talk on the phone without even looking where they are doing. So that was amazing to me.

On payphones:

I remember this when I first got out. I was going to make a call then I seen the 1 dollar thing. It was 25 cents when I was out. I found out when I got out on the streets that they don’t use these.

On different types of food at the grocery store:

I eat different things now because I’m looking at all this crazy stuff so I’ll to try it out every once in awhile. The funny dinners. Different colored drinks. What you call that? The gator stuff. Pink. Blue. All these different colors, so I started drinking that once in awhile just because it looks funny.


At the end of the 6 minute video, Johnson is meditating and reflecting in Central Park and says something fascinating, something that I wouldn’t expect from a man who spent 45 years in prison:

You know you’ve got to let things go because holding on to anger will only stagnate your growth and development. You know a lot of people said well society owed me because I did all this time. Even though I did the crime I don’t think like that. I don’t feel that society owes me anything. Everything happens for a reason I believe, so I let that go and deal with the future instead of the past. I try to go in the future, not backwards…and that’s how I survive society.

An in-depth article can be found on Al Jazeera’s site here.

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