Sitting inside the police station, waiting to be fingerprinted, my feet dangling on a chair that was just a bit too high, “wanted” posters and Rules of the Road pamphlets decorating the sitting area, I thought about how much the world has changed.
The strains of the long running television series Dragnet, kept running through my head.
Dum, da, dum. Dum, da, dum, dum, DUM!
Just the facts, ma’am.
Joe Friday didn’t really say it like that, but, legend has him uttering those words, much like the line that wasn’t from Casablanca.
Play it again, Sam.
Ma’am and Sam – and me, swinging my legs on a chair, waiting to be fingerprinted.
I wasn’t being “booked” for a heinous crime, or any other crime. I just wanted to be a good citizen and serve on my city’s beautification committee. In order to be sworn in as a committee member, a background check is required.
An officer came out, asked me politely to follow him, and I was led into the fingerprinting room. He asked why I needed to have my prints recorded and I said to be on the beautification committee.
“Are you a tree hugger, ma’am?”
“Yes, officer, I am, and my fingernails have dirt underneath them because I’ve been pulling weeds.”
“Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”
Another officer would be taking my fingerprints and, are you ready?, I wouldn’t need to get my fingers dirty.
I stepped up to an interesting machine. A computer, of course. This is 2012, after all. My thumbs were put on a touch screen, and there they were. My opposing thumbprints. The picture wasn’t clear enough, though. Some sort of cream and a wipe of my hands and we tried again. Then the rest of my fingers. All ten digits and not one clear picture.
I wonder if they’ll still let me be on the committee?