Posted by: safedriver | February 13, 2011

Driver’s license photos tell a story

I’ve always had a difficult time posing for pictures. I could never really smile properly enough to make it a nice picture. My school pictures from when I was a kid proved it. The worst ones were the pictures taken when we were on vacation. No action shots there. We had to stand, make it look like we were enjoying ourselves and make it look natural. Does this sound familiar to you as well? Have I just described your childhood?

This reminds me of my driver’s license photo. How unnatural can it be? You stand there with your back against a screen, staring into a lens with no idea when they’ll take the photo. Eventually, you stop smiling and even perhaps shift your eyes off to the side to see the 4 year old giving their mom a difficult time at the next counter. Of course, that’s when your photo is taken. Now you look shifty for the next five years on your driver’s license.

That’s not the worse though. I once had a student who had the sniffles and had to have their photo taken after she passed her road test. The clerk behind the counter was very patient and waited for the exact moment she sniffled and then took the photo. She had to live with a driver’s license photo that showed a scrunched up nose and eyes barely open for the next five years. How embarrassing is that when she has to show photo ID to get into places. I felt bad for her, but was pretty happy it wasn’t my photo.

When it was my turn to renew my license years ago, (when I had hair and a few extra chins) the clerk behind the counter thought it would be fun to have me tilt my head down so that I was looking over my glasses. She said there was glare on my glasses and that’s why I had to tilt. The end result was more chins and it looked like I was completely bald. (Remember, it was when I had hair, but maybe that was a true sign of the times to come.)

I think the oddest driver’s license photo came from another student of mine. The clerk was very chatty and was talking to my student after she had just passed her road test. My student was very happy and a bubbly person by nature. The clerk timed the click of the photo perfectly. They had asked my student how the road test was and when she replied; “Well…” the clerk clicked it. My student had to live with a driver’s license photo with her making the letter “w” with her lips. Try it and see how your lips look. Yeah, how would you like that photo for five years?

A friend of mine offered some sound advice to me years ago. He suggested that we make a pathetic look on our face just before we get the photo taken. This way, if we are ever stopped by the police, the look on our face will match our driver’s license. After all, he has a good point. Most drivers would try to act innocent, maybe even a little pathetic, after being pulled over by police and hopefully the officer would let them off with a warning. Perhaps if the officer saw the pathetic photo on their driver’s license, they would let them go…laughing all the way back to their cruiser.

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