Sunday 04 Dec 2016

Oompa Loompas
Jennifer Flaten

I am groping around in my purse looking for a lip-gloss because the photographer took one look at me through the lens and shook his head in disappointment. Sheesh, everyone is a critic! The kids were unhappy with my outfit choice for my trip to the DMV.

After spelunking the depths of my handbag I come up empty handed, nary a lip-gloss to be found. I did, however, find a stray house key for our ex house, a very fuzzy breath mint and a, now extremely, belated birthday card I forgot to mail.

Alas, it looks like I will appear sans gloss for my new driver’s license photo. The man behind the camera taps his watch impatiently. I give a shrug and position myself on the white line.

My kids, who could try out for next season’s Dance Moms are shouting at me to smile. All because I didn’t smile for my last DMV picture and the kids are determined to have me smile for this one.

I try to explain to them that no one smiles for their license picture. Let’s face it by the time you navigate the lines, fill out the forms and deal with the clerks the last thing you want to do is smile.

In fact, by the time you arrive at the photo counter all you want to do is vault over the counter and hurry Ansel Adams along.

Really, this isn’t a photo shoot for Vogue. No matter how much head tilting and chin adjusting the photographer tells you to do you are still going to look like an axe murder out on a three-day pass (or is that just me).

After re taking the picture for the third time, the photographer admits defeat and sends my photo off to be printed.

Our state no longer prints the actually licenses at the DMV. Instead, the DMV sends them electronically to some far off location, maybe one with Oompa Loompas, for printing.

At the super-secret license printing station, they do all sorts of Department of Homeland security voodoo on you and voila 7 to 10 days later you get your license in the mail or a large black SUV with tinted windows shows up to haul you away. Either way, you’re not walking out of the station with an actual driver’s license.

Of course, you can’t walk around without ID. So, in the meantime, they print out a copy of your license for you to use.

It is on 8.5 x 11 inch paper. Ah, yes, nothing like seeing your giant grimacing face, the kids just knocked something over, rendered in glorious black and white. Yeah, I’ll be rushing to whip that ID out.

How safe and usefully is this ginormous pseudo license? Not very, I'd say. I can’t imagine pulling this out at the grocery store when I write a check.

Also, I am not sure what to do with it. It doesn’t fit anywhere in my wallet. I guess I will just shove it into the black hole, aka, my purse and pray I don’t actually need to produce it in the next seven to ten days.

If I can still find it after the actual license arrives I plan to make an origami crane out of my paper license. 

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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