A Non-Hollywood Ending

Today’s topic:  How My Life is Like a Bad Liam Neeson Movie.

See, I was told this morning that I am ceasing to exist.  That my fingerprints are literally fading away.

Was I being booked at the local precinct for nearly stealing a car in the pre-school lot?  No.  Background checked to enter the space program?  Negative.

I was merely trying to get into my building at work.  You know, to do my job — which, incidentally, is not nearly as sexy as espionage or other fingerprinting-oriented careers.  Sorry to disappoint, but I’m just a PR girl at a desk in Post 9/11 Lower Manhattan, which means that building security is tighter here than at most major US airports.

We have ID cards to swipe in my office building and then we do, in fact, have to press down a fingerprint before the turnstiles will unlock and allow us to enter.  And I’ve had a history of mishaps — or, as the Security team calls them, “shallow prints” (there’s a joke in there somewhere, I know).  It’s a more of an issue when my fingers are cold.  But the last few days have been even more problematic than usual for my shallow prints, and I continue to get the red rejection light at the turnstiles.  So, off to Security I went.

It had already been a long morning of sleet and ice-related commuting slowdowns, so imagine my delight in being held up further to have my fingerprints assessed in the place where I’ve worked for almost seven years.

The woman in Security is very nice.  She has me press my finger for a fresh print to capture and compare to the electronic one on file.  She then raises an eyebrow with distinct concern.

“Hm.  It has changed, your print.  Can I see your ID again?”

She looks at my photo and then squarely at my face.  I’m not an imposter, she realizes.

See?  Sort of like a Liam Neeson movie — but decidedly without the Hollywood paycheck.  And I’m holding a Starbucks Grande Latte instead of a concealed weapon.

She tells me we’ll need to capture a new print.  Fine.  Where do I press?

I give her my best right-amount-of-pressure and centered-in-the-middle print (I know from shallow prints experience how to get an optimal result).  I look at the time.  I’m so late.  I feel my blood pressure rising.

She shakes her head.

“Do you know your prints are shallow?”

I resist the urge to roll my eyes and instead nod in polite acknowledgement that tells her I’ve been down this road before.

“Well, your print is just too light.  It won’t work.  It has faded over time.”

Maybe we have veered more into Matt Damon territory now.  Inception, or even The Bourne Identity?  I consider the possibility that I might need to get to my desk like this in the future:

My fingerprint — my unique identifier — has faded over time.  I feel like there is some deep life analysis that should happen at this point.  What does this mean?  It’s all so cosmic.

“You should moisturize more,” Security tells me.

Wow, OK.  Didn’t see that one coming.

This will fix my fading identity.  Moisturizing.  She’s dead serious, by the way.

Since I don’t have a pocket supply of lotion in my bag (clearly), we tested my other fingers until we found one that had not faded so profoundly — one that, I guess, has somehow been better moisturized than its peers.  It seems that my rarely used but now beloved left thumb still has my full history and genetic make up embedded.  It is the last proof point that I am me — and I must protect it at all costs (how was that for a Damon/Neeson line?).  I pledge to moisturize it well.

We capture its print.  One good print out of ten fingers.  I’m slowly fading away, and it’s all due to dry skin.

Not much of a Hollywood ending.  My identity remains intact, for now, and it’s off to my desk I go — after a stop to pick up some hand lotion.

{Photos from baywoodelementary.org and filmcritic.com}

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  1. Ha! I laughed at the line “my rarely used but now beloved left thumb.” Apparently, you and I have very different opinions about our thumbs. ROFL. (http://margaretreyesdempsey.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/chocolate-gelt-bobbleheads-and-hormonal-women-a-recipe-for-disaster/ )

    I hope there are video cameras in place the day you have to start removing your sock to gain entrance to the building. That’s a YouTube hit waiting to happen.

  2. Aunt Barbara says:

    Toooo funny!

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