Saturday, December 13, 2008

Smile and the world smiles with you...

...unless your trying to get a drivers license.

In it's latest efforts to assure that people aren't too happy, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles recently announced that persons posing for their driver's license photograph will no longer be allowed to smile.

Apparently smiling distorts facial features to the point of confusing the software program the bureau is using to identify the applicants. I guess they might have a point. I know there are times, when my wife is upset and scowling at me, that I would swear she's not the same person I married.

Not that there's a lot of smiling going on at the BMV anyway. Our local branch, long since closed, had been going downhill ever since Viola retired and the state sent its people in to run things. I always thought it was their way of keeping the locals from being quite so upset when our hometown office finally closed. I recall one instance, when after 4 trips to obtain a license plate for a small trailer, and after being sent away 4 times for additional documentation, I informed the clerk that I would simply take my chances on pulling the trailer without any plates. Surely if the police stopped me and executed me on the spot, it could be no worse an experience than I had already endured.

I never have understood exactly why the BMV exists anyway. I don't believe it should be necessary to ask the government for permission to drive on public roads, as long as I pay my road use taxes and obey the rules established to protect other drivers. And I don't know why they should charge more to drive a new Cadillac down the road than they charge for my old truck to drive down the same road. I guess just because they can.

I figure car dealers and insurance companies can keep track of vehicle ID numbers, and communicate that information to the police when necessary.

And besides, there are plenty of other government agencies that will make sure we don't smile too much.

At least without a license.

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