A. Marie Silver

A. Marie Silver

How I became a Death Investigator

>I’m often asked two questions about how I became a Death Investigator. First, people want to know what inspired me to into such a depressing field. Second, they want to know what my educational background.

If I’m guilty of anything it’s letting Hollywood influence me on any level. Right away I should have known better. But at least I can say that C.S.I was never a factor in my decision. Nope for me the two movies that influenced me the most were Silence of the Lambs, and the genious that is M. Knight Shyamalan, Sixth Sense. Now granted both of these movies came out long before I ever knew I was going to be a death investigator but it’s still interesting how they became an influence. Because this story is too long for one post, this post will be about Silence of the Lambs.

Probably, while I was still a freshman in college, I saw Silence of the Lambs. Clarice Stearling became my idol. Young, female and with a dual degree in Criminology & Psychology, and there she was on her way to a fabulous career with the FBI, investigating serial killers before she even graduated. I saw that movie and just knew I was going to be a kick-ass FBI agent. Shortly after watching that movie I became obsessed with being a prodigy of my own. I went to the book store and bought every True Crime book I could find written by FBI agents/Former FBI agents who investigated serial killers. I even kept news clippings about local murders that I stashed under my bed, because “Oh my god!” I was going to read through those clippings just one time and figure something out that the highly trained police had missed and solve the crime. Yeah me! Eventually I lost interest in the news clippings and became obsessed with something else…what I have no idea. I’m just relieved I lost interest because, in retrospect, that was kind of creepy.

Anyway, I worked pretty hard in college and had internships with the U.S. Attorney’s office, the U.S. Probation Office and the Juvenile Probation and Parole Office. Then it came time for me to pull out the stops. I submitted an application for the very coveted FBI Honors Internship. Sadly, I received a rejection Christmas Eve of 1998. Oddly enough, it was the nicest rejection letter I have ever received. No sarcasm. I promise. I don’t remember what exactly it said, I just know that it was 150 times nicer than the rejection letter I received from a small private college in Pennsylvania that told me “…you lack the promise and motivation of the kind of student we’re looking for”. Kiss my Master’s degree! Assholes!

Anyway, back to the FBI-’cause they’re way cooler. If I remember correctly, the rejection letter basically commended me on all of my accomplishments. The way it read was very sincere and completely unexpected. After all this is the FBI we’re talking about. I really expected that, if rejected, their letter would read something like this “Dear applicant. Thank you for your interest. However after review of your background we have determined conclusively that, YOU SUCK! Thanks for the laughs, LOSER! Sincerely and still laughing our asses off, The Cool People!”

As tragic as the rejection was for me I still figured that I could get work with the FBI because I had the same background as Clarice Stearling, and if this fictitious person could do it, so could I. But graduation came and went and I realized that just about every Tom, Dick & Harry applying for the FBI, had my qualifications. I was not special.

So what does one do with a dual degree in Criminology & Psychology. Well, there’s always options for graduate degrees in Sociology or Psychology-but I had no interest in pursuing that. There’s also the option for applying with the local police department. I also had no interest in that which is probably good because in all honesty, no sane person would ever give me a gun. Plus there’s the psych test they make you take. Hell, I can’t even pass a personality test (story for a different time).

What was my first job after graduating? I worked in a call center for an insurance company as a customer service rep. Yeah me! (note sarcasm here). And this is where I write “To be continued”. Hopefully you’re still awake.

4 Responses

  1. >So how is it that I've known you for years and I am just now finding out that you, and I quote "kept news clippings about local murders that I stashed under my bed" Gives me a whole new perspective on you oh angelic one….

  2. >Is the date on that right? xmas 2008? that was just last xmas.You know…it may be too late..but i'll share my quick story. I applied to be an ABQ Police Officer 2 times. I applied, and failed the situps portion…i was clearly not in good enough shape for this. After a few thousand situps and benchpresses and who knows how many hundreds of Forrest Gump miles. 3 months later I took it again. Situps check, bench press, check, run…6 fucking seconds over. OMG! I knew I should have ran real miles instead of the damn treadmill. I decided to give up on it, but get this…APD called me a week or 2 later and wanted me to apply again. I probably should have done it and passed…sho know's where i'd be.Point was perhaps the FBI were wanting you to apply at least…5 times..lol.

  3. >Wow! Major typo. Can't believed I missed that. You're right, 2008 was wrong. The fateful and devastating year I was rejected from the FBI was actually 1998. I fixed it. All better.

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A. Marie Smith

Your short bio telling the story of why you are a writer and the things that you think are important.