Today is my birthday. Normally, I don’t mind having a birthday because, after all, if I didn’t have birthdays, well, I’d be dead. But, I dread my birthday on the years that my driver’s license is up for renewal. Ugh, I hate the whole process. First, you have to write down your weight. Only the skinny girls like that. And then, there is the picture. No matter how you try, they never look good.
I got my “your driver’s license is due for renewal notice” about three months ago, but of course, I thought I’d wait until closer to the day. Finally, I could put it off no longer so I spent an exorbitant amount of time doing my hair and putting on my makeup. I found just the right outfit, even though I knew that only the neckline would show up in the picture. I even wore my shoes with higher than ordinary heels, simply because they make me feel thinner. I figured this would make the number I put down for my weight look more believable. It’s highly possible that I could actually hit that weight before my license is up for renewal again and I want it to be accurate when that day arrives.
So, feeling as confident as I possibly could, I set off to renew my license. One of the advantages of living in Cannon Falls is that the line at the License Center is short, meaning there is usually no one in front of you. I like that. But, I knew there could possibly be a problem because John got his license renewed in February and he wasn’t allowed to smile. That would not work for me.
Sure enough, I got to the License Center and the lady behind the counter informed me that Minnesota is one of the first four states to roll out a “no smile” rule. Just my luck. I tried to reason with her and tell her I had friends who recently renewed their licenses in Eagan (MN) where they were allowed to smile. Apparently, she was aware of the Eagan License Center’s rebellious streak and said I was welcome to go there. The problem is, Eagan has lines. . . .long lines. And, I was fast approaching my license expiration date. So, I agreed to the no smile picture, but not before I found out the reasoning. (I’m generally amiable to the rules once I understand them, AND if I think the rule makes sense.)
It seems the new “no smile rule” comes from the Department of Homeland Security. Apparently, it’s easier to do “facial mapping” if the person isn’t smiling. So, should I decide to take on a different persona in another state, or another country, they’ll be able to figure out that I’m trying to pull off a double identity scheme. Oh please, I hardly have time to live my own life, much less create a totally new one somewhere else. And here’s my question; couldn’t they just take a “no smiling” picture of me, send it to Homeland Security, and let me have a decent picture on my license?
The License Center clerk could not have been nicer. She very generously took at least six pictures of me in an effort to get one that would be acceptable. Eagan License Center wouldn’t have done that. She even offered tips on how to get a better photo. We laughed a lot and ended up with a picture that looks like I just bit into a lemon but I’m trying to hide my disdain. The good news is that my hair is perfect. There is always a bright side.
Maybe in four years, once the Department of Homeland Security has “no smiling pictures” of every one, they’ll let me go back to smiling. Everybody looks better when they smile.