And for today's mystery - I give you - my finger tips. Both hands. I went to the INS today to have my Metrics taken in order to renew my green card, and it took a very, very long time to process my finger prints, because, apparently, I have very eroded skin on my fingers (and indeed, roll the ends around as best she could, the technician kept getting print-readings on the screen that showed these whorls and lines as ragged blotches, highlighted in red to show their illegibility).
What job did I do, she asked? Was I a cleaner? Did I wash a lot of clothes by hand? Was I - you could see her choosing her words carefully - was I one of those people who washed their hands compulsively? Somehow being a USC professor didn't quite explain the smoothing off. I don't think I can have typed the skin away, since I'm somewhat dot-and-carry with my left hand, and even my little finger was affected. I hypothesized that it might be photographic chemicals, or acid from etching (as though I've done very much etching in the last 25 years ...) which seemed to satisfy her. All the same, I was left feeling as though I might be a criminal who'd labored hard to get rid of my identifying marks.