Yesterday I had the utter privilege of going to the Henderson DMV to have my license renewed. Why didn’t I just do it online? Because apparently every couple of years you have to go and do it in person and have a new photo taken. Now it’s no secret that to most people, a trip to the DMV is somewhat akin to having a tooth pulled, or waiting for CSI: Miami’s Horatio to finish taking off his sunglasses and just say the cheesy opening line, but I have to give credit where it’s due; the Henderson DMV is the best DMV I’ve been to.
So what made this particular visit interesting was not that I was there for 2 hours to basically confirm the information they already had, but that I needed to take a new picture. Time for some backstory. In all of my previous pictures, I always had a well thought out strategy to answer the age old picture debate: to smile or not to smile. I would venture to say that most normal people don’t put a lot of forethought into this particular issue, but in the words of catchy new tune called “Square Peg” (available now at aaronstewart.com!), I’m a little left of normal. I have always decided that if I ever got pulled over and a cop asked to see my license, that there was a better chance he or she would be lenient if they received a smiling reception from the piece of informatory plastic they inspected. Do I have any substantive data to back up this claim? Of course, not, but I figure it probably wouldn’t hurt my hypothetical situation. So the answer is, I smile.
At the end of my glorious DMV experience, I find myself standing in line to have my picture taken, slightly confused by the extremely blank faces people are making to the camera. I didn’t understand why anyone would want their photo to look like mugshot, but regardless of my confusion, each face looked eerily the same. When I finally reached the front of the line, I was able to read the sign posted indicating “the age of facial recognition technology is here.” Interesting…
To my limited understanding, formulated from one read thru of the aforementioned sign, you can’t wear glasses and your ears must be showing in order for the technology to function property. Neither of which were relevant to my current appearance. So the lady behind the counter instructed me to stare at the blue dot for 5 seconds. 5 seconds? Wait, is this the actual picture, or is this the technology leading up to the picture? After watching the people before me, I was pretty sure this was it. Well, I wasn’t going to try and smile for 5 seconds straight and look like a buffoon (not that I’m not used to looking like a buffoon), so I decided I would have to abandon my decade and a half strategy and just put on the most pleasant looking non-smiling face that I could.
And that was it. I don’t even get to see the picture that will represent me for the next number of years until it arrives in the mail in about 10 days. Can’t they have a reverse mirror mounted on the top of the camera or something? Or maybe bring in good old Olan Mills and let you do a couple of shots and then you get to pick the best one. In any case, if I do get pulled over now, no more Mr. Nice Guy.