It’s Kind of a Funny Story – My Identity Crisis

Let me start off by telling you that strange things just seem to happen to me. Like, weird, random stuff that doesn’t happen to other people.

Take the time a few years ago, when I decided to become a substitute teacher in our school district. I was 44 and had been a stay-at-home mom for many years.

One of the requirements was a fingerprint/background check. Upon arrival at the city office, I was told to sign in and fill out some paperwork. A few minutes later a young man in his early twenties arrived and stated that he was there to get fingerprinted for his Emergency Substitute Certificate – the same job I was applying for. 

I couldn’t help but wonder about ageism in the workplace…was I going to be competing against baby-faced recent grads for this position? People that didn’t have to unearth their college transcript from a dusty box it had been sitting in for 20 years?

I heard my name called by the woman at the counter. I walked to the other side of the desk where the fingerprint scanner was. She told me to relax my hand and bent my fingers into position.

I heard the scanner start and finish, and then the woman said, “Oh. They’re blank.”

I turned to her, “I’m sorry, what?”

“Your fingerprints. They’re blank.”

“Umm….what exactly does that mean?” I responded.

“It means you don’t have any fingerprints. You’ve worn them away.”

I laughed politely at her joke.

She looked at me deadpan.

“I’m serious,” she said. “Look at the screen. See the mark your fingers left?” 

She held up a sheet of paper. “This is what normal fingerprints look like.  See the difference?”

I stared at her.

“I’m sorry, I literally do not understand what you are telling me. You are saying I’ve WORN AWAY my fingerprints? How is that even possible?”

“Well, sometimes this just happens when you get older. You know how old people always drop stuff? It’s because they’ve worn away their fingerprints.  Your fingerprints give you your grip.”

“How freaking old do you think I AM, lady?!” is what almost fell out of my mouth. I mean, I gave BIRTH only six years ago for Pete’s sake! 

At this point I literally looked around because it occurred to me I might be on Candid Camera. Was Alan Funt going to jump out at me any second?  Then I realized that Alan Funt hasn’t hosted Candid Camera since the 1970’s and I thought, “Crap, maybe I AM old.”

The lady then held up a bottle of this clear lotion and told me to rub it all over my fingers. Was this some magic fingerprint reappearing potion??

I rubbed in the lotion she tried rolling each of my fingers, over and over again, on the machine, to no avail.

Meanwhile, Mr. Early Twenties is watching this whole scenario in amusement, looking all smug sitting there with his young, fingerprinty hands.

Finally I say, “I still don’t understand how this is possible. Don’t all human beings have fingerprints?”  

She says, “Do you do dishes?”

“Well, yes…but I am not, like, a dishwasher by TRADE.”

“Do you garden?”

“I mean, I grew a few tomatoes last summer….”

But…hello?? Everybody does dishes and lots of people garden. I have never heard of anybody without fingerprints!  

So I asked her what I was supposed to do now and she said she would submit my scans but I would most likely have to come back again and if it didn’t work then the police could sometimes work around it but, “they don’t like to.”

So, completely bewildered, I walked out, glaring at Mr. Early Twenties, who I swear gave me a “poor old lady” look of pity.

When I got home I immediately started Googling this phenomenon. The first thing that came up is an article from Scientific American about a guy known only as “Mr. S” who traveled to the United States from Singapore and had no fingerprints.  

And I thought, “Seriously?! I am Scientific American worthy freaky?”  

The next thing I read is that the career most often associated with fingerprint loss is a brick layer. Ohhhh…I must have forgotten about all the days I spent building a house for the third little pig. 

After much thought, I wondered if it’s possible if my obsessive hand washing over the years has caused this oddity. And if that’s the case, then my brother definitely doesn’t have any fingerprints either. Actually, that would probably be the case with much of my mother’s side of the family.

So as I sit here and type this with my fingerprint-less hands, I figure given my unusual condition I’ve got two new employment options:

  1. Late-bloomer career criminal or 
  2. Middle-aged spy

Either one I figure will pay more than the sub job. Take that, Mr. Early Twenties.

For more laughs, check out: “20 People Confess Their Funniest Awkward Moments”