A few days ago, I mentioned that I lost my glasses. A full room clean yesterday determined that I have, at some point over the last weekend, also lost my student card. Operating under the assumption that these things happen in threes, my keys, wallet, and memory stick have been moved to an undisclosed location where I can't hurt them anymore. Anyway, today I went down to the card office at the U of Blank and got a $20.00 replacement. The price is kind of steep, but I'm still doing better than my undergraduate days, where, at its peak point, I lost about one card a month. That's a lot of money I could have been losing in foozball tournaments.
Anyway, the replacement went as expected until the woman at the counter told me to sit down at the stool so they could take a new photo. I had not been expecting this. I had assumed they'd just print off a new card using the stock photo. I was not prepared to be on film.
Photo ID is a staple of stand-up comedy, on account of the fact that everyone's is usually bad in their own eyes, and so it becomes a common experience people can bond over. In my case, though, it goes a little further: Forget ID. I've never liked an actual photo of me ever. Okay, yes, some of the childhood photos are adorable. But the others? Forget it. I'm either about to sneeze, or I've just sneezed, or I'm blinking or frowning or twisting my face in bizarrely inhuman contortions or some damn thing. The entire high school-era photo album is a mess of an unfortunate body type mixed with one bad fashion decision after the other. The university years are similarly unbearable, at least until the point I started exercising a little and admitted that the full beard was not going to happen. Even now, the most innocuous circumstance leads to the most hideous photo. My Facebook account is a testimony this fact. Every smile is a grimace. Every wry look is searing contempt. Even a simple toast looks like an SS Salute.
So when I was told to take a seat, my mind went into blind panic. I was dripping sweat, I hadn't combed my hair before leaving the house, I hadn't shaved in days, I hadn't even showered that morning. (I was going for a run later, see, and--forget it.)
But the woman was gesturing, so I got on the stool, gave a weak smile, and snap! Another student card, with a photo that will represent my identity in the university system for the next 2-ish years. And... it's not bad. Maybe even an improvement over the old one. (In my old one, the glasses are not just crooked; they're practically at right angles. It's a miracle of geometry.) It's a little... tanned, though. Actually, that's not the right word. I look ruddy. But... the smile is present, the eyes are focused, the hair seems to have taken it upon itself to assume a pleasing form, and the facial hair isn't too obvious. So... we'll take ruddy. This time.