I’m kind of addicted to real-life crime shows. It started years ago with Forensic Files. They used to show (maybe they still do — I ran out of old Forensic Files episodes a long time ago and don’t really watch it any more because I’ve never been good at catching new ones) several episodes on Saturday nights. Sometimes, before we even thought about having a kid, we were lame enough to stay home on Saturday nights and watch Forensic Files. Well, I was that lame and Ben was here, so forensic evidence would indicate that he was an innocent victim.
I even used to watch Body of Evidence with Dayle Hinman. We always made up different names for her, our favorite being Daryl Hindquarters. That show is pretty cheesy. She goes somewhere in her grandma car, walks down a hallway in her little skirt, reviews the evidence, and then says something like, “This crime was committed by a person who would commit this crime.” Thanks, Daryl!
Eventually, I found the heroin of real-life crime shows, The First 48. This is the best show, ever. I dream of one day meeting Joe Schillaci, who is awesome. Unfortunately, I’ve seen every old episode and one new show a week isn’t enough real-life crime television to keep me satisfied.
A few weeks ago, I discovered the Investigation Discovery channel. (Obviously, if I were a good wanna-be detective, I would’ve discovered this channel a long time ago.) So far, my favorite show on this channel is Disappeared, which features stories of people who, well, disappeared.
When a person disappears without a trace, often the most critical information you have to work with is hidden in their actions and words from the days before they vanished.
The show looks at missing people, retracing their last known activities and trying to figure out what happened. Like most real-life crime shows, it’s generally not very happy. I’ve seen one episode where the missing person was found alive, living in Oregon for years or some shit, and her mom wasn’t even pissed off. Most of the time, though, the missing person either isn’t found (this is the vast majority of episodes I’ve seen and it’s kind of frustrating) or is found but isn’t alive.
One thing in particular from Disappeared freaked me out, a lot. It wasn’t the cute, tiny, 17-year-old girl who disappeared from the spring break trip she took even though her mom told her she couldn’t go and the inference is that she was dumped in remote, creepy, alligator-and-snake-infested swampland. It wasn’t the family of atheists whose bodies were chopped up and set on fire with the head and hands of one of the people who helped steal their money and kill them who then took to drinking too much and running his mouth.
The thing that freaked me out involved a family — a mom, dad, and six-year-old daughter from rural Oklahoma. These three people set out from their home to look at land in even more rural, remote Oklahoma and were never seen again. Their truck and almost-starving dog were found days later (there often are animals left behind, which usually is a clue that people didn’t leave willingly because they wouldn’t leave their animals behind, and I wish there was follow up on what ends up happening to the animals because I always worry about them), along with a phone with a somewhat creepy picture of the kid standing with her arms folded by a rock near where the family disappeared. That wasn’t what really freaked me out, though, as disturbing as it was.
What really freaked me out was when the narrator, rather nonchalantly, said that the driver’s license photos of the missing man and missing woman were posted all over town.
Driver’s license photos?! What?
Ben said it’s because this was “back in the day.” But it was 2009! (We then got into a discussion over whether they’d use pictures from like Facebook or whether anybody would notice you were missing if you didn’t post on Facebook for a while, and I thought no, because I don’t post on Facebook very often because what do you say there that hasn’t already been said on Twitter or here.)
Listen. I know this a lot of vanity wrapped in ridiculous stupidity, but have you seen my driver’s license photo? No, you haven’t, because I haven’t shown it to you, even if you know me in real life. It’s the worst picture of all time. In my driver’s license photo, I look like Monica Lewinsky. I’m not kidding. And I swear, I do not look like Monica Lewinsky, at all. It is a bizarrely terrible unflattering photo. (I mentioned it before, when discussing the second-worst picture of me of all time.) I actually tried, now that I’m being completely honest with you guys and even admitted how ridiculously slow I run, to scan my driver’s license so I could post it here and show you that I’m totally not exaggerating, but I actually broke the scanner printer at work, which resulted in me having to send at least 900 emails to everybody in and around my office letting them know the minute-by-minute status of the scanner printer while the scanner printer repair dude came out and made gruff “hmmmm” noises for a couple hours before fixing it, until somebody slipped arsenic into my water because I was so annoying with the scanner printer emails — okay, I’m lying and I totally love receiving emails informing me of the status of the scanner printer I use once every five years to try to scan my driver’s license so I can post it on the internet, but the scan turned out so bad you couldn’t even see the crappy picture.
But it’s not just vanity, I swear. If people were looking at that picture, they’d never find me! They’d be looking for some big, dorky woman with dark brown hair. Seriously, I’ve had bartenders ask what sign I am because they don’t believe it’s me in the picture (and yeah, I’d totally be using the ID of someone who is 40 if I wasn’t old enough to drink). And anyway, don’t pretend it’s not true that the effort put into missing persons cases by law enforcement officials, community volunteers, weird internet people, and that freak Nancy Grace is directly proportionate to the hotness of the missing person. Who’s going to dedicate countless hours to finding some weirdo who looks like a cross between Monica Lewinsky and a homely kitten? Nobody. (I’m not claiming to be hot, at all; I’m just claiming I’m not as not hot as that picture represents.)
And do you know what’s completely ridiculous about this driver’s license picture situation? This shit was issued in 2003 and it doesn’t expire until 2013. I have to spend ten years carrying around the worst picture of me of all time. Ten years! (I’ve heard that when you renew your license, there’s an option to renew by mail and keep the same picture. Holy shit! As soon as this shit expires, I’m going to be the most excited person to ever visit the department of motor vehicles. I might even wear eye makeup that day!)
Anyway, you guys, what I’m trying to say is that if I ever go missing, please don’t post my driver’s license picture, well, anywhere, ever. There are better pictures of me out there, on the internet, even. Use one of those. Please.
I probably also need to lay off the crime shows.