Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Friday, November 02, 2007

MUGSHOTS REVISITED

I can identify with the the Alien Warrior's encounter with the photographer. I have had a similar experience. I was supposed to have my "passport" picture taken for an ID so I could do a rotation in the much esteemed Johns Hopkins Hospital. Three things about me may have contributed to the picture finally appearing as a "mug shot".

Firstly, I arrived late for my appointment. All my life, I have arrived at such events about 5 minutes late, and it had been okay all my life until that event. So we got off on the wrong note.

Secondly, the photographer-processor, who had the responsibility of filling out the position / job description part of my ID, could not be convinced that my MB ChB degree meant the same thing as an MD. The lady, who was already so upset by my 5 minute lateness, then proceeded to spend another 15 to 20 minutes calling around to ensure that I was a real doctor, worthy of being issued a Johns Hopkins ID. I would have said race had something to do with it, but she herself was black, so it had to be my "accent", which I think is the third strike against me.

The most annoying thing was how she would call all sorts of places, the way she would phrase the question, and every time someone answered in the affirmative she would decide she had to call yet one more place. I believe at the end of it all, she still thought I was some sort of imposter, and that I had just convinced everybody else to let me in.

By that time, I was just livid- inside me. You know how sometimes you get mistreated, you say nothing, but later on you keep wishing you had? It's the opposite of the déjà vu phenomenon, and it happens to me all the time. So for many YEARS since that incident, I have rehearsed over and over again what I should have said; how I should have asked for a supervisor, filed a complaint, or walked away and have my Head of Department call to make trouble. I was new in America.

End result of it all was, my photo looked terrible, as if I had just been rescued from some "high class lynching", as my namesake Supreme Court judge would say. A very ugly picture, but it was me. And I didn't know I could ask for a repeat, or a different photographer. I had to live with that ugly picture for a whole 2 months, while that photographer probably just got to go home with an interesting story to tell her family. So, since then, when these things happen (and they happen all the time) I try to resolve it in such a way that I'm not the one who's hurt.

Figuratively speaking, I put my fist in their mouth and then methodically remove it. Then I look for a semi-solid object and clobber them right on top of the head with it, not while my hand is in their mouth. It works every time. - Calorius

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