#58: My License to Fib

#58: My License to Fib

Way back in the Stone Age when I was young, fifteen was a huge birthday to celebrate, because that was when you applied for your learner’s permit to drive. It was the first rite of passage into adulthood and likely one’s first joyous interaction with the Department of Motor Vehicles. I’m not even saying that sarcastically; it really was a happy event. People would take balloons to the county annex and celebrate with Shoney’s hot fudge cake after the paperwork was done.

The license-getting event also marked another important personal first: the first time I lied about my weight on an official document. Granted, it wasn’t off by much at the time, but still, it was, um, off.

Another license-related detail is the fact that from my earliest adolescence, I looked in the mirror and thought my eyes were green. I much lamented this observation because my dad had such terrific, bright blue eyes. So it was with an extra special dose of teen angst that fifteen-year-old-me bubbled in the field next to GRN on the eye color line of the DMV form.

To recap, we have a temporary legal document with one out and out lie, and one regrettable truth. Which eventually transitioned into a permanent legal document with one out and out lie, and one regrettable truth. And I perpetuated the lie and the truth through many a license renewal, and even a few address changes over the years.

An odd thing happened when I began full-time work after college. My new boss started complimenting me on my blue eyes. I thought she was kidding at first, but she assured me she wasn’t – my “eyes were, clearly, blue!” She said “Blue Eyes” so often it became my nickname. Eventually, I looked in the mirror and recognized that while the inside of my pupils are green, they are (clearly!) rimmed in bright blue.

Cut to my most recent interaction with the DMV, when I needed to renew my license and change my address. After many years of fibbing, I decided that it was time to right the wrongs. I would correct my eye color to the one I had wanted all along (and apparently had, according to my boss). I would also ‘fess up to my actual weight, and that was that. It seemed simple enough to be honest.

It wasn’t.

First, people who “mistake” their own eye color for over thirty years are looked at by the DMV with no small amount of suspicion. But I was able to convince the attendant that while I was no doubt odd, I was not up to any shenanigans. She eventually typed in my “new” eye color and “new” weight, along with my new address. All that was left was the picture.

The atrociousness of one’s driver’s license picture is a cliché for a reason. Few government offices have professional photographers, quality camera equipment, and flattering lighting. This is why I was so confused when the attendant took my picture, reviewed it on her screen, and said, “Let’s take another.” A re-take? At the DMV? Whatever, I stood on the taped off spot and smiled again. Only to hear, “No, let’s try again.” And try we did. THREE more times. Can you imagine how horrific a series of photos must be to be rejected by the DMV?

Finally, she nodded her approval of my latest picture. A few more clicks and a credit card charge later, I was practically out the door when I noticed the eye color and weight listed on my printout had reverted to their previous values. I took the printout back to the window, greatly irritating the attendant’s current customer, to ask about it. “Honey,” she said with a put upon sigh. “It’s a good picture. The rest don’t bother me if it don’t bother you.”

I looked at her, her impatient customer, and the line of glaring people snaking out behind him. I reminded myself that I began this adventure committed to telling the truth and nothing but the truth. But the weight, while not currently accurate, does give me a goal to shoot for. Depending on lighting, what I was wearing, and who you asked, it was a 50-50 shot that the eye color would be considered correct as listed. And the picture is awesome. I will happily explain this reasoning to any police officer who questions me. And if he or she has a problem with it, I’ve got my government-employee-sanctioned reply right ready.

Honey, it’s a good picture. The rest don’t bother me if it don’t bother you.”

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