Some people say it was when they bought their first house; some say it’s when their first child was born; or when they graduated from college; but for me, the moment happened on Tuesday. I’m already in my 30s, but the first time I felt like a real, bona fide adult was when I received my first truly terrible driver’s license photo. Every one I’ve had until now has been fine: not the greatest picture I’ve ever had taken of me, but I haven’t ever been embarrassed to have to show it (admittedly less and less these days, ha). And I guess I thought the days of poor license photos were behind us as a society, what with digital images that can be retaken in milliseconds to adjust for not-quite-open eyes, blurriness, etc.
But no. The entire square is filled by my face (with no framing qualities from my hair or clothing), which seems to emphasize the handful of pounds I’ve put on since my last license pic. My eyes are weirdly not all the way open, and I have a strange smile on my face like I’m about to say something to the 16-year-old photographer who, just at that moment, decides to snap the pic. Of course the DMV workers can never ask you to approve the photo before sending it through their system (the line is long enough without acquiescing to someone’s demand for 100 re-takes), but I still wish they would’ve taken a few and then chosen the best one, because I think almost anything would have to be better than this.
That said, if you see me, please ask to see it, because I need to get less vain about it (it IS an actual photo of me, after all), and maybe seeing it all the time might take some of the sting out of the fact that I am not the exception to the rule and have now joined the ranks of those who have also completed this rite of passage and can justifiably complain about their driver’s license photo.