August 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

“Womens” Beware!: Passport Photo

"While awaiting my turn in the dark corner of the camera section, I read this sign..."

By Susan Tungate

Information and Inspiration Under Santa Fe Skies

Susan Tungate is a writer, intrepid traveler, blogger and writing teacher.

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I had to renew my passport this summer. Renewing my passport always gives me pause. For one, I am forced to acknowledge yet another 10 years just sped by me at warp speed. I should not be old enough to have such a thick stack of old passports.

Also, it means it is time for the every 10 year ritual of creating a new benchmark. I need a new passport photo. I can remember looking at each of the previous ones after the photo was taken and thinking, “Oh, save me, I have to  look at this awful photo for 10 years? Where’s the mercy?” The bad part is I look at those photos now and think I look just fine.

In the past, I sprung for a professional photographer on the theory good lighting is a person’s best friend. This time I needed to be frugal. I found one option: Walgreens. Walgreens, the place with the green over head lights and the beige floors. I never even stood a chance.

While awaiting my turn in the dark corner of the camera section, I read this sign:

This sign is so wrong in so many ways I considered having a contest to see who could find the most errors. Putting aside grammar and spelling, is the content even true? Are womens [sic] not allowed to wear earrings? Must ears show? Must children remove berret’s [sic]? When they remove them are they removing a jaunty French inspired hat or a hair clip?

If I were brave, I would show you the new passport photo. I am not brave. It is awful. It is scary, but there is one thing scarier. As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, in 10 years I will look at that photo and think, gee, I looked pretty good in 2012. If that is the state of affairs, as God is my witness, I will grab a pillow case, cut out two eyes, a nose, two ears and a mouth, remove my earrings, stick the pillow case over my head and drive straight to a Walgreens for my next passport photo. At least according to the sign, my disguise will not be a problem.

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