#347 – Chain of Custody

Yesterday, I caught a firsthand glimpse of “chain of custody” in action.  Like many, I’d already learned about the concept from TV crime shows.  I’d seen the importance of documenting a trail of evidence from crime scene to lab and all the way to the courtroom.  As I witnessed, a proper chain of custody can make all the difference between convicting a perpetrator and allowing a guilty party to go free.

Sophia and I had Sunday dinner at her parents’ house.  When we sat down to eat, her sister-in-law noticed an object I was twirling around my fingers.  She asked me about it, employing the same exasperated and slightly condescending tone she usually reserves for her kids: “What are you playing with now, Richard?”

I held up the item – a circular, rubber ring slightly smaller than the palm of my hand – so she could get a better look.  Her incredulous response followed almost instantaneously: “Why on earth did you bring a ‘Nuvaring’ to the dinner table?!”

A whosaring?  I thought.  I didn’t know what Gina was talking about, having interpreted the object in my hand as some sort of plumbing O-ring surrounding copper pipes.  Until my wife leaned over and whispered in my ear, I had no idea an alternative to the Pill exists that’s inserted into a woman’s vagina for three weeks before being discarded and replaced with a new one.  (I’m obviously behind the times on cutting edge birth control, no doubt due to my reliance on old-fashioned condoms and a dearth of commercials for feminine contraceptive devices on the NFL and NHL Networks.)

As I mutely contemplated the item at issue, Gina reminded me of her still-unanswered question: “Well, Richard…?”

“Oh yeah; your son gave it to me.”

My answer obviously caught her off guard: “My five-year-old son handed you a Nuvaring?  Franco, where’d you get the … the ring you gave Uncle Richard?”

Young Franco, sitting across from her, casually proclaimed: “From Prometheus!”

No one felt more surprised than me at this announcement.  Before my sister-in-law could ask the obvious, I cut in: “From Prometheus?  Where’d the dog get a Nuvaring?”

Franco enthusiastically replied: “From the garbage can in mommy’s bathroom!” 

There was no getting around it.  A clear chain of custody led from my fingers all the way back to Gina’s trash can and, before that, to the original “perpetrator” herself, who suddenly turned a rich shade of scarlet. 

Meanwhile, when realization dawned on me as to the object in my hand, simple reflex took over.  The used Nuvaring shot skyward and a roomful of horrified eyes tracked its trajectory – straight into the salad bowl … while I sprinted off in search of the nearest hand cleanser.




It
sure looks like an O-ring, doesn’t it?







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