This morning I’m going to go to get my driver’s license renewed. I’ll go to a place that attempts to make the experience as tolerable as possible, but we all know that, no matter how hard the proprietor may try, the process of getting your driver’s license renewed is infused with an inevitable, intrinsic suckiness.
You’ll wait in line with a bunch of strangers. You’ll take the tests, and try to see all of the flashing dots and hear all of the sounds, and then . . . you’ll get your picture taken. And let’s face it, no one over the age of 50 looks as old, lined, and enfeebled as they do on their driver’s license or passport photo. There must be something about the automatic, slightly out of focus cameras used as such places that is geared to producing a photo that goes beyond unflattering and ventures into the realm of horror film fare, shipped out to Hollywood makeup artists who are searching for new and creative ways to depict the Living Dead.
I’ve liked this particular license, as much as you can like any scrap of plastic that tells someone in a position of authority that you are who you claim to be. It was issued on March 30, 2009, when “Mike Rankin” was Registrar of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It’s filled with messages purportedly detectable only under scanners and other security devices that tell people that I’m not an underaged kid trying to buy alcohol with a fake ID. It includes a hopeful but nevertheless egregious misstatement of my weight and slight exaggeration of my height and tells people I’ll donate my organs and that I need corrective lenses. It has allowed me to board countless planes, vote at every election, and make credit card purchases. It has served me well, but today I’ll get a new one.
Wish me luck.