It is October and I am in jail.
Moments earlier, I had the most surreal experience when I realized they were about to take my mug shot and I remembered how I always wondered what I might do in the event of a mug shot. Would I want to fix my lipstick, slick down my hair and smile or would I want to look surly and disheveled? I had spent more than a few minutes contemplating this after seeing mug shots of Mel Gibson, Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and that guy from 48 Hours, what was his name? Nick Nolte. Paris smiled, Lindsey looked trashed, as usual, while Mel and Nick really had no business being in front of a camera at that moment.
The fingerprinting process had been fascinating. I chatted nervously with the deputy as he rolled my fingers over a tiny computer screen until it beeped. I watched as he gingerly manipulated each of my fingers with his purple rubber-gloved hands until the beeps indicated all ten had been registered, viewed and approved for picture perfect clarity and content. Like a fine diamond.
These were the same fingers that spent the day wrapped around my golf clubs, happily chipping away at the Grand Geneva resort. It was the first time I had golfed the magnificent and aptly named Brute, at over 7,000 yards, it is one of the most challenging layouts in the Midwest and is considered one of Wisconsin's best golf courses. Enhanced with 68 bunkers and huge rolling greens, this par-72 perfectly manicured and immaculately maintained course had kicked my ass for the better part of an afternoon.
My fingers had also spent most of the day wrapped around an assortment of Styrofoam cupped free cocktails. Funny, but I never paid much attention to alcohol until I moved to Wisconsin. Now I’m considered one of their own. I don’t drink domestic beer or cheap wine the way they do in Oklahoma. I live in Brew City where there is a tavern on every corner, directly across the street from the Catholic Church and immediately adjacent to the church cemetery. Drinking is a serious business here. It is embedded in the fiber of every tight knit community up and down the shores of Lake Michigan.
On this particular work sponsored golf outing, I ordered a few Bloody Marys, followed by a few beer chasers, followed by a pre-dinner Vodka cocktail, followed by white wine with raw fish appetizers and red wine with my gorgonzola encrusted filet. I had the impression after dinner that I somehow still needed to catch a buzz so I rallied the troops and headed out to the resort’s fire pit for more wine where I kid you not, there was a convention of office supply sales people from around the country, doing their conventioneer thing, drinking heavily, hiding their wedding rings and hogging all the good seats to the fire pit.
Surveying the situation, I immediately noticed they were all men, save a few token females who were referred to as the hired help. In my impaired state of mind, I stood up and asked for the dick who was in charge of this mess to show himself. The time for reckoning had come. Little did I know, the time for my mug shot was soon to come.
While staring down the lens of the DMV style camera, preparing for my Mr. De Mille moment, I am told to stand with my feet against the wall, do not move your head, look straight into the camera. No, do not tilt your chin, this is not Vogue, look up here.
What to do, what to do? If I become a well known author, this shot will be seen by millions. If I smile, it could appear apathetic and smarmy, as if I were saying not a problem, I got this. On the other hand, if I don’t smile, I risk pulling a Gibson or Nolte, and I can’t have that. I mean, how embarrassing. Maybe I could ride the fence, looking calm with just a hint of a curl at the edge of my lips, not nearly a full smile. Some will question whether it’s a smile at all, like the Mona Lisa. It could become a pop culture debate as countless intellectuals joust enthusiastically as to the meaning of my facial expression, or lack thereof.
And like that, the photo was taken and I was unceremoniously escorted to my cell in the Walworth County jail.