The fingerprinting

The first step of applying for US citizenship is to submit fingerprints for a FBI check. We got a letter from the INS a few weeks ago giving us a time to come in so that they could fingerprint us.

Our appointments were an hour apart but the INS guys wouldn't let the wife and me into the building together. The guy at the gate told my wife that she could go in, but that I would have to come back in 40 minutes. Not friendly is it? But then, such coarseness is par for the course at the INS. So, the kids and I sat out in the car. Luckily, the weather was in the 50s, so it was not too bad.

Anyway, the wife came out and I went in. The fingerprinting was fast and smooth. They had a sophisticated machine that captured the fingerprints in digital form, quickly analyzed each finger's print and asked for a repeat scan if a ridge line was broken or if the prints were smudged. A whole lot better than the old horror stories of waiting months to learn that the first set of prints were no good, so the whole process would have to be repeated.

When I came out to the car, the six-year-old had a question.

"So were you a good guy or a bad guy?," he asked.

I was puzzled. "What good guy? What are you talking about?"

"When they took your fingerprint, did it match?"

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