This has absolutely nothing to do with Doodles, but I saw this on the news this morning and wanted to alert our friends in New Jersey to breaking news. DO NOT smile on your Driver's License. It could land you in hot water. Now, mind you, I did not read the accompanying article, but I read the headlines and gleaned what I needed to know from the photo. So, I will repeat, DO NOT smile on your Driver's License photo if you live in New Jersey.
The state of New Jersey does not want to see your big old toothy grin when you show up to get your new picture. They don't want you cracking knock knock jokes in line and making the people ahead of you laugh. They certainly do not want you yelling, "CHEESE," right before they snap the picture and please don't show up to the DMV sporting your cheese head. I am pretty sure if you cannot laugh or smile, they do not want your cheese head photo on your driver's license either.
Up until now, when I lived in Maryland, my biggest fear when I used to renew my license was whether or not I could give a bogus number when the weight question came up and keep a straight face. I was always panicked that the clerk behind the counter would look me up and down and say, "we would like to take you in the back room and weigh you just for verification purposes." In fact, now that I am thinking about it, if they would have asked my weight right before snapping the picture, I would absolutely NOT be smiling.
Luckily, PA does not put your weight on your license, which I believe is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, the last time I went to renew my license I found out some bureaucrat must have stayed up late at night to come up with the most absurd renewal system ever. Prior to the date your license expires, you get a renewal notice in the mail. Now, if you are dumb like me, you assumed that you just take your renewal form to the DMV, wait in line, snap a new picture, and leave with your new card. Nope!! You are supposed to mail the signed card to our state capital and then you get another form in the mail and that is the form you take to the DMV. I missed that part, because it is not the way it used to be done, and had the audacity to show up with the original paperwork and expect to walk out with my new license. Luckily, there was the rudest woman imaginable working there that day to set me straight and before I could proceed, I had to walk down to a nearby insurance company, pay additional money for them to process and notarize my form, and then walk back to the DMV. The DMV could only go to that additional trouble if my license would expire in 3 days. Doesn't it make sense that you cannot do this at the one location where you are supposed to be able to renew your license?
Needless to say, I was not happy that day and when the same rude woman told me to smile, I looked at her with loathing in my eyes and now I will carry for four more years a picture that looks like one of those unflattering pictures you see in the National Enquirer. Victoria Beckham may have perfected the "I am hungry and mad look," on camera, but I have not.
I look like I have just been told the worst news imaginable and when my oldest daughter saw my picture, she almost wet her pants laughing. Truly, she was gulping and spitting and choking on her laughter and when I told her the whole story about the awful clerk, she added, "you really showed her, mom!"
She even took a picture of the picture and I think when I call her, it shows up on her phone. I vowed that day at my next renewal, I would paste on my face a beautiful smile no matter what. If this New Jersey thing catches on, though, I may never get that chance.
I hope the New Jersey people fight this stupid ruling and smile bigger and better at every DMV visit. Do it for those of us who are carrying around the worst picture ever on their driver's license. Take a stand for the rest of us, New Jersey!! If you don't, someone is going to see that photo someday and burst into laughter and who knows, that might be outlawed next.