Do you remember when you found out that Santa wasn’t real? I remember being pretty devastated for quite some time. Other revelations in life were disappointing as well; the girlfriend who didn’t really “love” me after all, the first teaching contract I signed for $9,600 per year only to find out that “after taxes” net only equaled $599 per month, and of course, finding out that the “great” politician I supported with a donation, yard signs, and vocal support ended up being like all the rest of them. You’d think I would be getting used to it by now, but….
On Tuesday of last week, I went to the little convenience store down the road to get my morning cup of coffee, a newspaper, and visit with neighbors like I do 363 mornings every year. I arrived at my usual time, parked in my usual spot, and stayed my usual 30 minutes.  When I went to get in my truck and slide my newspaper under the rifle that always lies in the front seat, I was shocked to discover my rifle wasn’t there. Thinking that one of the regulars had played a practical joke on me, I went back inside to confront them.  After only a couple of minutes, I realized they were being truthful in their denial and proceeded to call the Sheriff’s department.
While waiting for the Deputy to arrive, the owner started reviewing his twelve channels of surveillance tapes. Sure enough, there is a vehicle pulling in right behind my truck with a guy jumping out, opening my unlocked door, grabbing my gun, and speeding away. Beautiful.  All we’ve got to do is turn the tape over to the Sheriff’s department and let their detectives blow up the image to retrieve the license plate number. I figured I’d have the rifle back in my possession by the end of the day.
The security company had to come out and make a CD of the time period from Camera #10. Luckily, one of my sons was still home from college and spent the entire day downloading programs from the internet that eventually enabled us to see the perpetrator. We handed over the disc to the deputy the next day. On Thursday, the detective that had been assigned the case, called. He’s the same guy I had worked with a couple of years ago concerning a burglary at one of my farm houses, so I had a good relationship with him. On the phone, he stated that he had some bad news — the images of the vehicle could not be enlarged with enough clarity to read the plate number.
“But all you’ve got to do is send it to the crime lab and let them go through the same process I see on CSI every week,” I protested.
“Jerry,” he began calmly, “the camera at the convenience store doesn’t have high enough resolution to allow this to be done. When you enlarge it, the license plate distorts to the point that NO computer program will be able to enhance it enough to make it readable.”
Frustrated, I replied, “I’ll bet Grissom could do it if you would just give him the chance.”
“Jerry,” he began again, in that condescending tone, “Grissom is just a character on the CSI TV show. He and the show are not real. It’s fiction and some things just can’t be done like that.  It’s like professional wrestling!”
“What? Are you telling me professional wrestling isn’t real either?” I shrieked into the phone.
Jerry Crownover is a farmer and former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University. He is a native of Baxter County, Arkansas, and an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry about his books, or to arrange speaking engagements, you may contact him by calling 1-866-532-1960 or visiting and clicking on 'Contact Us.'


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