Some people are very photogenic, and then there are the rest of us.
I came to terms with my driver’s license photo years ago by realizing that the terrified looking female it pictured was probably exactly what I’d look like if a law officer ever demanded my license.
One day, long ago, I was stopped outside of Gettysburg for a safety check.
The officer who approached the driver’s side of my vehicle was most kind as he explained what he wanted me to do. He had no way of knowing that I was having a real panic attack.
Even my daughter who was sitting in the passenger seat thought I was just fine until the officer stepped aside and I asked her, “What am I supposed to do?”
She gave me a sidelong glance and said, “Turn on your headlights.”
“Okay,” I replied confidently, “Where are they?”
“In the front of the car,” she laughed.
“Yeah, right, so how do I turn them on?”
“Mo-ther! She said in that strangled tone teenagers use to express disapproval, among other things, as she turned to me. One look at my frantic expression made a believer out of her.
She successfully guided me through the rest of the law’s directions until the officer came back to my window and said, “Now we’ll check your brakes. I’ll stand in front of your car, you’ll pull forward, and stop when I motion.”
My daughter said, “I don’t think that’s a good idea…”, but the officer never heard her.
No, I didn’t run over him. I managed to stop as directed, passed the safety check, and even apologized for my stupid behavior.
He just smiled and said, “That’s all right, ma’am. We have that effect on a lot of people.
I drove away before he could hear my daughter say, “Man, you have no idea how brave you are. This is the first time I’ve ever seen my mom scared!”
That was when I knew I looked like my driver’s license photo.
As a teacher I had my picture taken every year with my class. I finally asked the photographer, “Just make me look kind.” I gave up on anything better.
Then there’s the photo at the top of my column. I didn’t really like the first one, but I figured the camera doesn’t lie and it could be worse.
Then they lost the negative and had to do another one. At first I rejoiced, then I found out it could be worse. But it’s not the photographer’s fault. As he clicked we talked, and in no time at all, I was laughing instead of smiling. The result was not another Kodak moment.
Recently the Advocate ran a picture of our class reunion that really warmed my heart. Actually we are the GHS class of 1951 and we had our 45h reunion this year.
However, a gremlin got in the works somewhere between the photo submitted and the information printed which identified us as the class of ‘57 celebrating our 30th reunion.
Did I complain? Of course not. I just got a copy and sent it to my “former” younger brother who now lives in Texas. He graduated from GHS in ‘56, and I now have typographical proof that I am officially his younger sister.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on Sept. 25, 1996.
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