In the course of applying to be a sub in my kids' school district, I had to get fingerprinted. It made me wonder: how many prospective school employees make it to that point in the application process, willingly give their prints, and get found out as being a wanted felon? These are the kinds of questions that bother me, that but I couldn't exactly ask without it seeming damn suspicious.
Speaking of which, there's something nerve-wracking about being fingerprinted by cops, even when I know it's for an innocuous reason. It certainly didn't help that the three cops running the Department of Education Fingerprinting Workshop looked like something directly out of a 1955 episode of Dragnet. All three were middle-aged, sported short-sleeved button down shirts, close-cropped hair, and professionally blank expressions. I felt like they knew something about me that I didn't know. Like, maybe I'd had a crime spree several years ago that I'd forgotten. I mean, sometimes (fine, usually) I forget where I've parked my minivan at the grocery store. Who's to say I haven't committed multiple burglaries over the years and had them just slip my mind, much like the eye appointment I keep meaning to make but continually forgetting until 5:30 pm on a Friday?
Cop #1 certainly scrutinized my application form carefully enough like he thought I could be a felon. I found this slightly offensive, since I'd put great thought into the outfit I wore that morning, selecting what I thought was the least felon-like ensemble in my wardrobe (trouser jeans, black heels, black tee, and purple cardigan with pink pearls). Or is that what he was expecting me to do? Should I have gone for the not-even-making-an-effort-because-I-have-nothing-to-hide look of yoga pants, sweatshirt, and baseball cap? Shit.
"Right over here, please," he said crisply, waving me toward the table set up with inkpads.
I held out my hand, trying not to let it tremble (don't want to look like I'm worried) but also not wanting to look like I've done this before. He separated my pointer finger from the others, rolled it on the ink pad, and then gently pressed it onto the print card.
He paused and frowned. OMG, my prints must exactly match those of a wanted serial killer. It would be totally my luck to be the first person on earth not to have unique prints. Shitshitshit.
"You should have moisturized," he said to me.
"Excuse me?" I asked, thinking I'd misheard.
"I can't get a clear print. Your hands are too dry," he told me.
"Heh, heh. I guess I missed my chance for a life of crime!" I joked without thinking. Nice. Jenn. You shouldn't crack jokes about crime while you're being fingerprinted. It's like saying "bomb" at an airport.
He frowned again and reached for a water bottle, "Let's wet your hand a little and see if that helps."
I let him spritz my hand, blot it off, and try taking prints again. "We'll have to see if that can be read or not," he said doubtfully.
"What happens if it can't?" I asked nervously.
"Well, then we'll have to amputate your finger," he said with a perfectly straight face.