By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jan 17, 2008 at 6:19 AM

It had been a long, long time since I had been to the public library. Looking to kill some time before going to the office, and needing to get some other things done, I thought I would drop in on the Central Library Downtown to look around (In my 29 years in Milwaukee, I've never been there) and pick up a library card.

So much for that.

The clerk took my drivers license and a second form of photo identification (a photo ID is needed to check out books, but not to vote ... ) and she began processing my application. That's where things took a turn.

"Sir," she said with the seriousness of an airport security agent. "You had a card before, sir, and it was revoked due to non-return of books."

I was puzzled, and asked when. She informed me the delinquent articles were checked out in the mid 1990s, and my account carries fines of roughly $75.

My address has changed about six times since high school, my phone number at least a dozen. She didn't have my Social Security number, either. So, in the end, I unwittingly gave myself up, ending my life on the lam. I offered to settle my account on the spot. Alas, I didn't have cash and the library doesn't take credit cards.

On a whim, I'm going to head back to my mom's house this week and see if the articles in question are sitting around my old bedroom somewhere. I'll still pay the fine, but I'm curious as to what it is I checked out (that wasn't listed in the computer).

I am embarrassed. It's like the "Seinfeld" episode without the goofy library cop character. The lesson here, folks, is the library apparently is pretty good at keeping track of things. If you think you owe them, settle your affairs now before they come find you.