Old Enough

Tomorrow I’m getting my new driver’s license and it’s a big deal because it’s the quadrennial picture year. (In Ohio we can renew our license without a new picture for four years.) As the time for my picture nears, I start thinking mostly about early March weather. Since March comes in like a lion, most of my id pictures have featured me with some incredibly wind-blown hair. If you have to look at one photograph of yourself repeatedly for four years, “in from the storm” isn’t the preferred look.

For my first driver’s license pictures (age 16 and 20), my concern wasn’t the wind but THE COPS. For a law-abiding suburban white girl, I had an over-sized fear of being pulled over by THE COPS and somehow the quality of my id picture would be the difference between jail and freedom. Trouble, by the way, usually meant drinking low alcohol beer and not a lot of it because fear of the law and my parents kept me pretty much in line. Still, my friends and I spent hours debating if we should look our best or our worst for our id picture. The logic was, if we did get pulled over, it would probably be late at night, and probably after we had been misbehaving in some way. If THE COP saw a great picture on our ids, he would be able to tell “how bad off we were” but if THE COP saw a bad picture, he would never know anything was out of the ordinary. We had the whole scenario figured out. We were that smart.

I must say, I’ve aged out of both of drinking and driving and thinking that I can out smart police officers.

So, in getting this year’s picture id/driver’s license, I ask myself who is going to be looking at this official id for the next 4 years.

Sure, poll workers will ask to see my id to make sure I’m at the right precinct and that I’m am a citizen with voting privileges. Which is cool, but at two votes per year, hardly enough to get worked up over my picture.

The bulk of the time I hand my id over it’s to get into a bar or get a stamp/bracelet/state permission to buy alcohol. As far as I’m concerned the state could call my card the Right To Drink Bourbon Card. The keepers of the alcohol are supposed to look at my date of birth and then at my picture and determine if I’m old enough to spend my money. And it is my goal to make them say, “you look great for your age” before I go off and have my celebratory adult beverage.

Only slightly less often than my party enablers, I hand my id to the bank tellers. It’s weird that when I hand it over to the bank teller it’s nearly the same as handing it to a bartender. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to picture a teller’s window as a private space on a bar. In fact, I would bank more if I got a shot of bourbon for my id-handing-over-efforts. Just sayin’.

Four years ago, I took a nice picture, with calm hair and I also remembered to adjust my shirt collar so I didn’t look like the BMV agent grabbed my by it and threw me in the chair to get my picture. It’s been a nice four years. Maybe I’ve got the hang of it. I want my picture to show an adult me who is citizen enough to vote, old enough to drink, and able to withdrawal money

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