The Good, the Bad, and the Lego

Yesterday I received my new license in the mail and good gracious. Of the many things I like about myself, my face shape – square with a rather prominent forehead – is not one of them. Unfortunately, the state of Montana is apparently into extreme close-ups; I look like the bust of a Lego. I also had the added misfortune of clipping back my bangs into the kind of hair bump that went out of style last fall, which is a shame considering I’ve got eight years to go before I try again. In the meantime, this is what I get to enjoy every time I open my wallet:

I just realized that I’m going to have to move to a different state in the near future.

(And I’m not kidding about those teeth either – I always smile like I’m about to take a bite out of crime in official pictures. Next time I hope they just go for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly eye zoom-in. I think I could live with the Spaghetti Western style squint-eyed glare. I have very nice eyelashes.)

At least my signature is semi-respectable, considering I signed it with the kind of credit card machine pen designed to make it impossible to emulate your actual handwriting. 15 or 20 years ago, standing in line with my family at an embassy in Thailand while we renewed our Visas, that wasn’t the case. Back then I signed my paperwork with a flourish: two dots right above the swoosh I’ve always squeaked out of the last “a” on “Andrea,” to make it look like a smiley face. When my parents spotted it they made me start over, despite my protestations that that’s how I signed my name in my day-to-day life. Not that I signed a lot of official documents in middle school, but my friends and I liked to practice our autographs, mostly to compare them with one another. I can’t remember now who started the smiley faced umlauts, but we all agreed it was about the best idea ever. It only took a couple of years to figure out that my parents knew what they were talking about.

The other restriction at the time was the fact that we weren’t allowed to smile for our renewal pictures. Though Thailand’s official tagline is “The Land of Smiles,” the government frowned on (I wish I could say that pun wasn’t intended) frivolity in official photographs. When I asked my parents why, the answer was “because they don’t,” which, when translated, actually meant, “It’s been a long day, honey, please stop asking questions.”

Mind you, I don’t think that would’ve helped this travesty any. Next time I want a mugshot of myself I’m going to the county jail.