After many unsuccessful visits to the Walled Lake Police Department, I returned for (hopefully) a final time today and got my fingerprints done. I have to submit two fingerprint cards to the Peace Corps so the FBI can properly investigate me, and I had to pay $20 to have an officer press my fingers on some ink and then roll them on some paper. Thus I share it with you in order to get my money’s worth.

The first thing that occurred to me when I went back to the fingerprinting room/area was that there was a gun two feet away from me. And if a psychotic episode or just a particular feeling struck the officer in question, he could use it to shoot me and I would be dead or severely wounded. Guns, man, what a dumb idea. Anyway, then I got distracted when the officer opened up what basically appeared to be a junk drawer to get the finger ink, and there was a spare pair of handcuffs hanging out in there. And then he closed the drawer abruptly, maybe because I was staring weirdly. Probably.

Then we turned to the fingerprinting device! I just googled, like, two different terms to try and find a picture of one, but I was unsuccessful. All devices pictured were much more high-tech than the WLPD’s plastic 2×4 with an ink roller, a plastic square, and a fingerprint-card-holder nailed on. The printing process went about as you would expect. Ring fingers are the hardest to do since it’s harder to hold your other fingers out of the way, but the officer was kind enough to point out that I was doing better than most people. I was kind enough not to point out that most of the people he fingerprints have probably been arrested and are feeling just a little uncooperative. Teamwork.

After the prints were finished he pumped this industrial glue-like substance onto my hands to help wash off the ink. It was very greasy and smelled strongly of camphor. That’s a lie, I don’t know what camphor smells like, but it felt and smelled like it should reek of camphor. While I used handfuls of paper towels to scrape the viscous lotion ooze off my fingers, the officer pointed out Walled Lake’s very own fancy-fingerprint-computer-machino-gadget that was also in the room, and told me how unfortunately they’re not allowed to use it anymore and have to do it the old-fashioned way. (I suspect that it’s (a.) permanently broken or (b.) really just a copier with a fake monitor set on top and a picture of a fingerprint glued to it.) I told him that was a shame and seemed ridiculous. Since we had spent the past several minutes bonding over ink and sludge, I think he understood that my regret was based on the WLPD’s apparent inability to play Law & Order and run fingerprint scans. I mean, why even bother with civil servitude?

And so concluded my fingerprinting exploit. There’s still a little bit of ink on my fingers, so my street cred remains intact for the time being.