One of the less serious changes that took affect after 9/11 that has caused me mental anguish is the studied perusal of our ID cards everywhere we go. Yes, they were required before, but I was also able to usually get by with just quickly flashing the darn thing with my finger over the picture.
Now, everywhere I go, people want to devour the thing like it's the new Brad Thor novel (you know, Brad Thor - my literary crush). And I don't WANT people to peruse my ID card like it's Reader's Digest and they're in the bathroom. I want them to glance at it and let me go before they can connect that horrible picture with the person sitting in the car before them.
I have this terrible fear that someday someone will comment on how completely awful my ID card picture is.
"Oh, having a bad hair day then, were you?" or
"You might want to accidentally wash it - they'll replace it for you and you can get a new picture."
Just for the record, I HAVE accidentally washed my ID card. I got a new one. The picture was even worse than the picture I was trying to make obsolete.
I am hoping against all hope that there is some kind of training program for ID card checkers. Some sort of lecture they have to sit through that drives home the lesson that it is simply not polite to tell people that they look like the before pictures on the plastic surgery billboards.
By far the worst ID card picture I've ever had was the one I had to rush to get right after my son was born (he was kid number four, for the record). There I was, six days after giving birth. The bags under my eyes would have had to be checked at the airport. I could barely muster up the energy to shower, let alone to fix my hair. My body was shaped like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and I smelled like sour milk and applesauce (I'm not sure why I smelled like applesauce when I was breastfeeding, but I always did. Maybe I'm a descendant of Johnny Appleseed or something). When the very overworked ID card person at Travis AFB said, "Look at the camera!" I managed to twist my mouth into what I thought was a Mona Lisa enigmatic smile. Instead, it looked like I was a stroke victim.
The picture was so awful I burst into tears. They offered to take another one, but even on a primal level I understood that the red puffiness I had added to my baggy eyes and the snot coming out of my nose weren't going to enhance the picture any.
I had that ID card for three years. I could not get rid of the thing. And to tell the truth, I was afraid. What was going to come next?
Last January I finally had to get a new ID. I spent the entire day getting ready, which is a whole other OCD post of it's own, let me tell you. I was desperate to prove that I could have an ID card to be proud of.
I have frizzy hair.
And, apparently, the camera failed to register that I have a chin.
I did do my hair before going in to get my new ID today, but I didn't stress over it. I didn't make going to the ID counter at the MPF the focal point of my day.
And I didn't take a good picture either. Apparently, they found the chin I lost in my last picture and added it in this time. Far from having frizzy hair, today it was absolutely flat. And despite all that money my parents shelled out for braces, I was doing my best chipmunk impression when I thought I was smiling.
The ID card person looked at the screen doubtfully and asked if I wanted to take another picture.
I declined. It's not worth it. I'll just add this one to the ID Card round of Military Spouse Poker.