Tell a FriendLeigh AnneLeigh Anne Jasheway ~ Queen of Stress

License to Kill

I just got my drivers’ license renewed and the new photo is even worse than the old one. I didn’t think it was possible. My last photo was so bad that in order to prevent my local newspaper from using it on my obituary column, I stipulated in my will that I’d rather them use my mammogram.

But no, this photo is even uglier. I look like I’m nauseous, have slept in a wind tunnel for a week, and just before the flash bulb popped, I smelled something awful. I don’t know how those photographers down at the DMV (Department of Making you look Vile) do it. Perhaps they’re former Glamour Shots employees and now they’re exacting their revenge on the general public. "Okay, now cross your eyes and drool a little. Can you slouch more? Oooh, that’s perfect!" These people could make Michele Pfeiffer look like Homer Simpson. Actually, I’d be happy if my new photo looked as good as Homer.

It’s not like I expected photographic perfection, after all, they’re working with me, not a supermodel. So I accept the fact that my drivers’ license photo will never be good enough to be on the cover of Vogue, but I’d at least like it presentable enough to make the cover of Mad Magazine. Heck, I’d even settle for a bad caricature of me with huge ears and a tiny body. At least then I could laugh along with everyone else.

I know I shouldn’t be so vain. After all, who really sees your license? The cashier at the grocery store? She’s not much of a troublemaker, so I’m probably safe there. Members of the police force who mistakenly think I have violated some traffic law? Actually, my license could come in handy in these situations. "I was going to give you a ticket, Ma’am, but from the looks of this photo, you’ve been punished enough!," the officer would say, trying to hold back the laughter until he gets back to his squad car, where he faxes a copy of my license to all his buddies back at the station. But then there’s the receptionist at my doctor’s office, who always asks for my license to verify that I have not stolen my pitiful insurance policy (under which everything is either an excluded pre-existing condition or a figment of my imagination). She has the power to put a copy of my license in my permanent medical file, where it would haunt me until I die or until I actually look as bad as that DMV photo.

My spouse will also see it and that’s a bad thing. It’s hard enough keeping the spark alive when he’s seen me in my green clay facial mask and fuzzy flamingo slippers. I don’t need him rifling through my wallet looking for money only to come across my new photo. I’d never live it down. I can see it now. For Halloween, he’ll wear my drivers’ license taped to his forehead to scare trick-or-treaters away. When his mom shows us her bunion again, he’ll say, "That’s nothing. Here’s something really ugly!" and whip out my license. He’d put it on our patio table in the summer to ward off bugs. Such a crack-up is he.

The worst part of this whole photographic debacle is that I will have to live with my new license for seven years! Personally, I think that qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment. Although in seven years perhaps my eyesight will be so bad I won’t be able it at all; aging does have its advantages. Of course, something could happen to that license in the meantime – it could burn up in a fire, a thief could steal it, I could accidentally run in through my paper shredder… Of course, then I’d have to shell out another $20 with no guarantee that the next photo wouldn’t be even worse.

I guess I’ll try to tough it out. Maybe I’ll just inadvertently hold my thumb over the photo whenever I show my license to anyone. Or I could get a little sticker that says "Objects in photo are not as ugly as they appear." Or, I could just accept my fate, go sleep in a wind tunnel after a large spicy meal and then take a whiff of my husband’s sweat socks before leaving the house. At least that way I’ll look like the woman in the picture.

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