I know it sounds strange, but I’ve never taken a bad driver’s license photo. Ever since my first one, when all the kids passed the card around laughing at one another, my photos have been decent. Not ones that I’d frame, mind you, but ones that I don’t mind handing over when I buy cold medicine (must…resist….rant) or try to board a plane.
Oh, dear God, the HORROR.
It all started (and ended) one day in January, when I realized that my license had, technically, expired. In Iowa, we get a 60-day grace period. Good thing, because I’m used to Illinois, where they send you a postcard, reminding you that you’re about to expire. I don’t even know what made me look at it, but sure enough, it expired in December of 2010. So I made myself look decent – combed my hair, put on a spot of makeup – and hotfooted it down to the courthouse. Filled out the necessary paperwork, wrote the check, and stood in front of the camera.
“Don’t smile,” came the instruction. I flattened my lips, still staring at the camera.
“Don’t smile!” she said again. I flattened my lips a little more.
“DON’T SMILE!!!” she was practically yelling at me. “We have Facial Recognition Software, and it doesn’t work if you SMILE!!! SO DON’T SMILE!!!”
I frowned. She snapped the picture.
Holy hell, I’ve just had my first Mugshot. I kid you not. It….is….HEINOUS. See for yourself:
I’ve stood in front of the mirror, trying to recreate that face, and I CANNOT do it. I have no idea who the woman in that picture is.
Ok, so Riddle Me This, Batpeople…
Why is it that England can have Closed Caption TV Cameras all over London, capturing pictures of every Tom, Dick, and Jane running around on the streets, and can identify people as they go traipsing by? I’ll bet lots of those people are smiling, talking, wearing hats, beards, and sunglasses, and still, they can identify them. (I know this, of course, because I’m a fan of the BBC Show “Spooks” (also known in the states as MI:5), and we all know that if it’s on a TV show, it is absolute, incontrovertible fact)
I’ll bet our own CIA and FBI and Department of Homeland Security, and TSA have the same … ok, maybe not TSA. Hugh Heffner and Larry Flint have the joint contract on their software. But the others have plenty of decent FRSoftware that can recognize people… even if they smile.
I guess that’s a tip to Iowa Criminals: if you’re going to rob a bank, make sure you SMILE. They’ll never find you!