This One’s For Pop


We all have our badges and name tags. My current one is a rectanglular piece of plastic that has my picture on it. I have to swipe it on top of the turnstile to get into any of the buildings at my work.

Very corporate, very typical.

This was my Dad’s ID. Maybe not his main one for his job, but one that was on his keyring for work.

My dad was a Corrections Officer at a state prison in Pennsylvania.

For 36 years.

It was, and still is, considered a medium security joint. A portion of the population there are are serving life sentences without the possiblity of parole.


Like I said, he went in and out of this place for 36 years.

My dad isn’t some physically imposing guy. He was trained to handle himself, and in firearms, but didn’t carry while on the job. Most CO’s don’t while with the general population.

Talk about stress.

Still, as far as I could tell, he never brought it home with him, never let it affect the house.

Me, I have to wait a few extra minutes for my bagel to toast in the cafeteria and my family will probably know about it.

I gotta be more like Pop.

I’m not sure when I acquired this ID, this piece of him. But I like it.

It may have been made in the prison’s metal shop (what, you thought they only made license plates?). Not sure.

But I love the yellow-gold color of the metal.

I love that it’s not perfect, that the K is bit distant from the RA and that the last AK rides a little higher than the preceeding N.

It’s thin and slightly bent near the hole.

This was metal work done by hand. No new-fangled water jets doing the cutting or stamping, not perfect.

I carry this ID tag on a keyring that holds this little iKey thingy needed to access my company’s computer network.

One old thing jingling next to some new thing.

I bet the old thing will be around a lot longer still than the new thing.

I carry it because I like the utilitarian look to it.

I carry it to remind me of my dad and what he did.

I wanted to do a simple still life portrait of my Pop’s ID tag.

This one’s for you, Pop.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved 2013


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