Tennis balls can act as makeshift silencers on the ends of guns. However, they also leave behind small yellow or green fibers that can be traced later by investigators. These are the types of things you learn when you love the art of criminal investigation and have been binge watching Forensic Files on Netflix. Forensics is a fascinating subject to me. It amazes me that everything we touch and everywhere we go, we leave something behind.
I once farted in an elevator before getting off. That was some serious trace evidence. At least the woman’s face suggested that as I exited and she entered. It would seem that she is not a fan of surprises. I hope her husband remembers that for any birthday celebrations.
My cats are pros at leaving behind forensic evidence. Perhaps they understand my appreciation for it. I can never murder a hooker in my apartment. Cat hair everywhere. Those assholes will have me in prison in a matter of days. One cat likes to eat too quickly and then leave half-digested evidence on the carpet. In the middle of the night. In the middle of the hallway. Where I walk sleepily in the dark to use the restroom. Where I will swear profusely while washing the evidence off the bottom of my foot. The other cat has what can only be a serious gastro-intestinal issue. I need only to breathe to determine that he has used the litter box within the last twenty minutes. And scratched the outside plastic of the litter box instead of covering the clues with the freaking litter because I raise stupid cats.
Right now, on my bathroom vanity mirror, there is a star, a heart, and a smiley face with the tongue sticking out. I discovered them when I took my shower today. They weren’t there when I stepped in. After the steam collected, I realized that my daughter had used her fingers to leave behind something to make me smile. I could have been an adult and wiped them away. I think they’ll stay there for a while. I’ve been awoken multiple times to myself hacking as a lone hair from my daughter’s head has found its way into my esophagus. She likes to jump onto my bed and talk to me about the latest characters she created on Animal Jam. Those little hairs always make me grin after the initial panic of staring death in the face. The trash can in her room always has a story to tell. Often, that story involves her sneaking an apple when I’m not looking and ravaging it in her bedroom. I don’t mind apples. When I find a boy in her room, I’ll put use to some tennis balls.
I’ve left behind a lot of evidence in my time. Sometimes I even get to solve a mystery. Waking up Saturday morning to the empty remnants of a previously unopened box of Girl Scout cookies. This forensic trail generally leads to the vodka being much lower than it was when I got home from work Friday night. In my younger, more virile years, my bedroom was a wonderland of evidence pointing to poor decisions. A woman’s sock. A condom wrapper. And for some reason, a ski mask. Some mysteries are better not solved.
The truth is, the best things we leave behind can’t always be observed under a microscope or even with any of the five senses. Everywhere we go. Everything we do. We leave behind a part of ourselves. I held the door for a random attractive woman at a gas station years ago. She smiled, thanked me, and touched my arm for just a moment. I never got her name. I never saw her again. But she pops into my mind occasionally. It feels good every time. With just that two second interaction, she left something behind with a stranger. The idea of it is daunting.
I ask myself often what it is that I’m leaving behind. How did I affect someone’s life or day without even knowing it? When I meet someone, will I have a positive or negative impact? When I die, how will I be remembered? I think this blog is my way of trying to control a little of that. I am in no way a great philosopher. I have no delusions about changing the world with my writing. But just maybe I can help someone look at something differently. Maybe I can just make someone laugh when he or she is having a particularly bad day. Maybe my daughter will read my writing one day and understand her father a little more intimately than a lot of children ever “know” their parents.
Welcome to my crime scene.