The following blog post may contain stories or statements that could show a human side to accused murderer Daniel Wozniak.
Reader discretion is advised.
Why am I telling you these personal things about Daniel?
I know I have written a lot about the case and the legal side of this story lately (and dealt with some very cranky readers). I guess I just wanted to get back to the basics, so to speak, and return to my original reason for writing this blog in the first place.
I want to understand Daniel.
I want to figure out the person behind the alleged murderer. I know that many people just assume that he is a monster and write him off. That is not who I am.
So, here are some aspects of Daniel that don’t make the headlines…
When he was a toddler, he loved watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He would stand in front of the TV and mimic Johnny doing his traditional mimed golf swing. When his parents asked their youngest what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas that year, he answered “I wan a my ro phone (translation: I want a microphone), which he received. He then took it with him everywhere, annoying his older siblings by constantly shouting in to it, “Lay ees a gennle man!”
You can figure out when people originally met Daniel by the name they use for him. People who knew him as a young child still call him “Danny.” Those who met him as an adult call him “Dan” (the crime took place during the Dan years). I started calling him “Daniel” when I first wrote to him out of politeness and not wanting to assume familiarity. It just stuck.
He hates Pepsi! I learned that on the first night I met him, six years ago in the theatre office, when he was refusing to let me sell cans of Pepsi to audience members. I have never gotten a logical answer from him about WHY he hates Pepsi, and when I ask him about it, he looks at me like I’ve asked him why he doesn’t drink kerosene. It’s not just a preference for Coke, he despises Pepsi. (Writer’s note – I’m fine with Pepsi.)
After numerous drunken, foolish and sometimes humiliating mishaps, he finally came to the realization that he can NOT handle Tequila. (Writer’s note – I’m fine with Tequila.)
His favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo. Once I accidentally called it The Count of Monte Crisco, and he laughed. (Me again – I haven’t read it.)
Daniel genuinely believes that jail has improved him as a human being. He would say that he is now a much more considerate and open-minded person since his incarceration.
He’s a pretty good “jail cook.” Orange is the New Black is fairly accurate in its depictions of inmates creating delicious recipes using just the items they purchase from the commissary. (I’m an OK “out in the world cook.” I once sent Daniel some pictures of a vegetarian casserole that I made. Other inmates joked that sending pictures of food to jail is like cruel and unusual punishment. Yep, making my blog about ME again.)
He loves the comic strip Pearls Before Swine. I seriously don’t know anyone else below the age of 70 who still has a favorite newspaper comic strip. This is one of his qualities that make him seem to me like he should have been born in 1935.
Another one is that he uses the word “bozo” all the time. “That Bozo got a write up from the deputy.”
He has started calling God “Kramer.” This began when I said something about “the cosmos” during a conversation that the two of us had regarding religion. Cosmos = Cosmo = Kramer (Seinfeld reference).
He lost a really ridiculous wager a couple of months ago. A fellow inmate told Daniel that he could “do between four and five hundred sit-ups in one minute,” betting him a shot of coffee that he could prove it. Daniel lost when the other inmate then proceeded to do five sit-ups. Get it? Between four and five hundred…
He quotes Family Guy, South Park and The Simpsons regularly. (Me too.)
He’s annoyed by TV news weather reports. He figures if you want a weather report, you can turn on The Weather Channel. He’d much prefer his weather Ollie Williams (Family Guy) style:
And now, here’s Ollie Williams with the Blackuweather Forecast. Ollie?
IT’S GON’ RAIN!
Once when I was going on a trip, he sent me six envelopes, with a specific date next to my name on the address, to take with me. Each letter had a cheesy joke, and a quote of the day. For example:
Joke of the day: A man applies for a job at a very low budget zoo. He gets hired, but the manager tells him that they recently lost their gorilla and if he wants the job, he will have wear a gorilla costume and pretend to be the zoo’s gorilla for a couple of days. He agrees. After a while, he starts having fun performing for the visitors. People are clapping and taking pictures and he gets so involved that he even climbs the wall of the pen and stands on the top. Suddenly he slips and falls into the neighboring lion exhibit. The lion stares him down. Terrified, he starts running. The lion starts chasing him and finally corners him and pins him to the ground. The man is screaming at the top of his lungs, “please somebody help me!” The lion raises a massive paw, slaps the man across the face and says “Shut up idiot! You’re going to get us both fired!”
Quote of the day: No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – the Buddha
He entered me into a jail football pool. I came in 3rd place. I think that means that someone owes me soup.
He likes playing practical jokes.
He is friends with almost everyone at the OC Jail. It doesn’t matter the classification of band color. The majority of the deputies like him too. I’ve seen it in their interactions.
He’s generous. If he has something, he will share it. In jail, this often means buying snacks for other people from the jail commissary.
He likes to use analogies to explain his thinking. (And if you’re curious, I actually do that a lot, too.)
He can be cocky, arrogant and self-aggrandizing
He really wants to accomplish something that he believes will help others.
That brings us full circle I guess – back to the case. Daniel honestly believes that maybe something good can come out of all the bad that has happened. I’m sure there are people who think that is impossible.
I hope he’s right.