The Thoughts and Poetry of Glenn Ervin

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lip Prints

     A significant part of my job in security is is to fingerprint people during the pre-screening phase of their employment. By the time they get to me, they have already submitted character references along with their application, those references have been contacted, the applicant has submitted to a drug test, and then they come see me to be fingerprinted.
     Instead of the outdated blotter and ink, we use a computer program that allows the individual to press his or her fingerprints onto a glass surface (similar to the scanners seen at grocery stores), and their prints show up on the monitor and are stored in the computer. At the end of the process, I electronically send their prints to the FBI in Jackson, MS for a background check. At that point, my job is finished. I personally do not have access to the results of anyone’s background check. That confidential information stays with the personnel department.
     However, there are certain things I can tell about a person while I am conducting the fingerprinting process. For example, I can usually spot a mechanic by the scars on his knuckles and fingers. It is also pretty easy to spot a guitar player by the callouses on the fingers of the left hand. Then there are the students and office workers who have the tell-tell paper cuts, and those who have a history in working with harsh chemicals because of the difficulty of being able to get an acceptable print (the prints have often been damaged). A person’s prints can tell you an awful lot about them.
     But of all the prints I’ve seen, the ones I saw at home last night will no doubt stay with me from now on. Vicky pointed out an unusual set of prints on the windowpane while we were on the sofa relaxing after supper. Now, with three granddaughters we have become quite accustomed to seeing their little fingerprints smeared all over this particular windowpane. The window is low enough to the floor that even little Ellie has started pulling up and pressing her little hands against the panes.
     But what Vicky pointed out were not fingerprints, they were lip prints. Three little kisses in a vertical row. Too low on the glass for Rachel, too high for Ellie, we looked at each other and said, "Jordan." These, like all prints, tell a very accurate story about the person who made them. It was just like her; creative, bold, independent, and a bit mischievous (ok, maybe more than a bit).
     The random fingerprints left all over the window are the result of the girls pressing their fingers against the glass while they look outside. But the lip prints were placed there on purpose and in a specific order. They say, "Jordan was here."
     I look for this one to leave her unique mark on the world wherever she goes in life. She has already established herself as an individual who cares little for following the herd. She’d much rather stampede it.
     I have nearly five years worth of Jordan stories, and I won’t try to give them all to you at once. Just let me say that in a world filled with middle children who tend to go unnoticed and remain rather invisible, this one ain’t.
     A little Windex will remove her lip prints from the windowpane, but Papa’s heart is covered with indelible Jordan prints that have changed him forever.