Re Print: Inside Story - Paul Horan

"Life on the outside might get shitty from time to time, but you have no idea..."

27 Nov 2014


Paul Horan at 'home'. Summer 2011.

Words by Paul Horan Photos by Rob Dolecki / First Published in DIG Issue 65 August 2008 (Photos published in DIG 85 Nov 2011)

I won't forget the day that changed my life. Waking to a gun in the face, followed by cuffs on the wrist. My mind clouded with unrealistic thoughts of what laid ahead. I felt as if my life was over. Little did I know, it was just beginning. After giving 16 months of my life to various state facilities, I was given time to review my life. And I arrived at a few conclusions. For one, I cannot take back my mistakes or change the past. but I can take my experiences, the mistakes I've lived through, to better myself and others. maybe even you.


“VAN HOMAN THINKS I HIDE SPOTS FROM HIM. I KIND OF DO”. This is a good example of some of the gems Paul stumbles upon while lurking around in the backwoods rustbelt towns of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Paul loves doing gaps too.

Throughout history, man has always battled for freedom. Freedoms I had taken for granted. And for 16 months, I wasn't allowed the freedoms I was raised upon. I gave my life to another man to do with as he saw fit. What a bad idea that was. I wore the same clothes as everyone else, ate the same food and used the same shower. I didn't even get to pick where I worked or even who my roommate would be. I would much rather have been traveling the world to an unknown place, eating strange foods that I would have never found in my hometown and riding new places. but I had the chance to do that and I missed out. So I'm just going to spread the word instead. but I'm going to tell it in a different way. I'm going to tell real life stories from the inside. Not some made up shit. Not something to scare you, something to change you. Something to give you an understanding of what the wrong decision can and might do in the future. And the lengths that a man can go to for the freedoms we take for granted.

Paul HORAN BMX first aid RD

Homemade Animal fork box first aid kit. Here in my van.

They called him 'Hogan' cause he looked like Hulk Hogan. He stood about 6'2", with a shaved head and goatee. Hogan also had some tracks marks on his arms. “From his youthful days," he would say. And this is how I came to know Hogan. It's day eight of being alone in my cell, even though millions of people have been here before. There's a dime-sized light that never goes out. No television, no books and no radio; just a boredom that could drive anyone mad. As I sit on my bunk, which is only 24 inches wide, I stare at my cell waiting for my next tray of mush to slide through the slot on the door. Today was going to be different though. A low buzz from the door caused it to open. And then, In wanders my new cellmate. A man I don't know and have never seen. consequently, I'll be forced to live with him till we're told otherwise. He drops to the floor while the cell door shuts behind him. Without hesitation, he starts rummaging through his few belongings, mumbling over and over again, “I'm sorry I got to this." With each syllable spoken, I become more alert to the fact that I may have to fight this man in the approaching minutes. And by this time, I'm on my feet with my back towards the wall. “Finally," he shouts, holding up a roll of toilet paper. And with that, he drops his pants, plops down on our stainless steel throne and pulls open a cabinet door to slightly block my view. Hogan explains that he has been holding it for hours, and my worries slowly fade away. but almost immediately, my worries flood back faster than ever. Hogan reaches into the muddy-colored water of the toilet and feels around as if he's playing with cake batter. “There it is baby, there it is!" he shouts, as he drops something into the sink. He goes back in for round two and throws something else into the sink, then begins washing his find. When the cleaning process is finished, Hogan stands proudly in front of me with two packs of crushed-up Newport cigarettes and a lighter all triple-bagged tightly. The contraband had been jammed up inside his rectum for 12 hours prior to this event. my new cellmate had gone to great lengths to smuggle cigarettes into the cell - one small freedom that most people take for granted. Life on the outside might get shitty from time to time, but you have no idea...

Paul HORAN BMX wall RD

Even after a bit of involuntary time off the bike and with or without riding buddies present to cheer him on, big moves are still boiling in Paul’s blood. Wildman wallride, Philly.

I have so many people to thank for giving me a second chance, hope, and most importantly, the ability to ride again. To these people, a thank you may be all they ask for. However, I just don't feel that those words will ever give them what they have given me, Tunney, Dolecki, Navaz, everyone at Animal, Jim C. from Sunday, Ben Ward from Odyssey and Leigh Ramsdell. Thank you. Seriously. Thank you. Ok, I'm off, faster then a prom dress in June...