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My hideous driver's license photo

July 19, 2011 - Andrea Johnson
Why does my driver's license picture always resemble a mug shot taken after a 48-hour drinking binge?

Sure, no one ever looks good in a driver's license photo, but others I've seen at least show the person smiling. The clerk didn't give me time to smile. Instead, the photo features a frown and my most forbidding beady-eyed glare.

I was feeling pretty grumpy at the time and for a good reason. These days people in Minot who want to renew their driver's licenses need to go to the office on the U.S. Highway 2 Bypass because the location in the Arrowhead Shopping Center was flooded. For someone who has as poor a sense of direction as I do and can get disoriented trying to tell east from west, north from south and left from right, this change is a bit more challenging than it might otherwise appear. Normally my GPS unit saves me, but it is confounded by all the detours due to flooding and construction and keeps telling me to take a route that I know will land me in the middle of a construction zone.

But, I arrived at long last and renewed my license. Since they wouldn't let me wear my glasses in the photo, I'm also squinting into the light and don't look much like myself. The Department of Motor Vehicles seems to have a new law that people can't wear glasses in their photos because it interferes with face recognition software. How is that going to work when I wear my glasses all the time? Any patrolman who pulls me over, though I hope to avoid this, will have a harder time telling it's me in the photo.

It also makes me wonder what else they don't let people wear in those driver's license pictures. What if you're a Muslim woman who always wears a head scarf? How will the patrolman be able to tell it's her in the photo without her head covering?

But who am I to question the logic of our government officials?


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