Criminal Record Check

So Karen (that would be me) walks into the local police station to get her criminal record check, which, in this particular instance, includes fingerprinting. (Apparently somewhere in Canada, there is a convicted sex offender with the same birthday as mine. “We want to make sure you’re not him.”)

I’ve had criminal record checks many times. Back when I was teaching, we did it every five years. Never got asked for fingerprints. Volunteered to teach literacy to adults after I retired. Criminal record check. Never got asked for fingerprints. Applied for a legal name change. Fingerprints.

A little creepy, this being fingerprinted, but probably that’s my own paranoia showing. After all, haven’t we been told oh-so-many-times that none of this is kept anywhere. “We are the RCMP, after all. You know our reputation. You can trust us. Absolutely.”

Creepy. Messy, too. At least the time I was fingerprinted for my name change. Not so, anymore, though. Now you just put your hand onto the glass plate, the computer scans it, and you’re done. Very Hollywood and Matt Damon. So I’m feeling a bit tight in the chest about all this, but I’m telling myself, and the woman who’s doing this, “I’m cool.”

“We’ll do your thumbs first,” she says, demonstrating. “Put them together like this and place them on the glass. Don’t press down.”

I do. The light scans. My thumbprints appear on the screen. Then a message: “Poor finger quality. Try again.”

Wait. “Poor finger quality? I’m being body shamed by a computer? The computer can’t see my fingerprints and this is my fault?”

“Try again.”

She takes a hand-wipe from a dispenser on the counter. “Let’s try giving them a wipe, and see if that helps,” she says. We try again.

“Poor finger quality. Try again.”

Three times we try. Maybe four. Finally, the machine is satisfied, and we move on to the right hand. One finger at a time. “Poor finger quality. Try again.” Every single finger. Both hands. We wipe. We switch fingers.

“Is this machine telling me I could have a life of crime?” I ask.

“You didn’t hear it from me, but yes.”

“I could be a spy.”

“You could.”

“Except for my bright green car. It kind of stands out.”

“So does an Aston Martin.”

“Good point.” Crime or international espionage. Who knew retirement could be so rich in potential?

We try again. And again. Eventually, we manage to get them all. All ten of them. The machine is happy, but my career in crime, alas, has slipped (pardon the pun) through my fingers.

“Just one more thing. We need your thumbprint on this authorization.”

“What am I authorizing?”

“Just to send it off for analysis.”

We wipe the thumb. I place it on the glass. The machine scans. “Poor finger quality. Try again.”

Poor finger quality. Embrace it, Karen. You have not been shamed. You have just been nominated the next president of the United States.



~ by karenmcl on March 11, 2017.

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