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Saturday, July 26, 2014

I hope that pictures do lie

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I recently got my driver's license renewed. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. I had heard horror stories about having to bring your birth certificate, passport etc. to prove that you are a citizen of the United States. I have never had a passport, and I wasn't real sure where my birth certificate is. I know I was born and I received my first driver's license from Vivian Burris through a little window on the ground floor of the Duck Building at the corner of East Cherry and Washington. It cost me a quarter. I was asked if I knew how to drive. I said yes and that was it. I was sixteen and had been driving since I was eleven. I have never had to take a driving test because I have always renewed my license on time. When we lived in Washington, D.C. they accepted my Missouri license and I did not have to take a test.

Last week I went into the office with what I had, which was merely my current license, a checkbook and myself. It turned out that was all that I needed. A simple eye test took about two minutes and then I stood in front of a blue hanging to have my picture taken. Remember how windy it has been lately? One thing I didn't think to bring in my concern about citizenship identity was a comb. But I didn't want to delay the process any longer, so I went ahead with the picture taking.

She didn't even ask me to say cheese. The picture looks more like she must have said, "Say pickle".

But within ten minutes I walked out with the official right to drive for three more years and with ten dollars missing from my purse. It was a painless procedure and if I drive carefully I may never have to show my picture to anyone. If I did I would be really concerned if the officer did think it looked like me!

I assured myself that I didn't really look that sour. My hair wasn't really that droopy. My neck doesn't really have these things that look like turkey wattles. But just in case, I got my hair cut in a few days.

I soon forgot about the experience. In a few days I received a letter from a man who had been attending one of the Elderhostels that I lead. He included a picture to keep as a memory refresher. I remembered him taking the picture in the dining room of the lodge. He found me sitting with the other two class leaders and asked if he could get a picture of all three of us at once. I quickly swallowed what I was eating and smiled as he snapped the picture of the three of us.

The picture of me looked very similar to the one on my new driver's license. It can't be that those flaws that I mentioned earlier are really the true me!

I got reassurance when I looked at the picture of my attractive co-leader. She didn't look a whole lot better than I did even though she is at least ten years younger. Our male friend/leader in between didn't fare much better. Since the man taking the picture was standing up and we were all seated at the table, Joe's bald spot on his head shone brightly in the flash of the camera.

I'd think that in this age of instant everything, the cameras we use could be like the spell-check on our computers. When the camera takes a picture that doesn't show the person to advantage, it should be able to correct it instantly so that the thin-necked, well coiffured young woman with the pleasant smile would really be me.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus