Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Passport Photos

My favorite humorist is Erma Bombeck.  
I suppose I’ve read all her books and will travel to the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop in Dayton, Ohio next month to rejuvenate on the humor of others and refresh my own humor style.

One of Erma’s books is titled, “When you look like your passport photo, it’s time to go home.”

Not only do I agree with her sentiment, I have to amend it by saying, 
“When you feel like how your passport photo looks, you should have gone home 3 days ago.”

I mention this tidbit because I’ve recently returned from an eight-day  trip to Spain.

I have looked and felt like my passport photo. 
I’m not sure if you’d characterize it as the mug shot of a prisoner or the prison matron’s photo, either way, it isn’t attractive.  
In fact, I cringe each time I look at my passport photo and wonder what the custom agents think in seeing it, doing a “double take,” wondering what happened to my genetic makeup.

Nice portraits take a skilled photographer and a halfway decent looking subject. 
I’m a good photographer, so I make every effort to make my subject look her best.  
I can’t assume that anyone else would try that hard to make me look decent.  

Photos of me tend to catch me with my finger up my nose, mouth wide open, chewing food, showing every freckle, wrinkle, age spot and my mustache.  
Pair that with looking 5 sizes larger, 20 years older, and you have my typical photo.  

Told you...
However, the passport photo adds two extra items; it has to be taken with the head tilted downward and not smiling. 
At least that has been my experience, and I look downright ugly.  

But I’ve been told this is a good thing.

True case in point:

A 50ish year-old  woman decided to get a passport photo made when she was dressed to the nine, beautiful wardrobe, jewelry, hair coiffed and perfect makeup.  She was pleased with the outcome and insistent that the photo be taken her way, smiling and looking up and into the camera. 
The passport came back beautiful.
Her three week, grueling trip across Europe left her desperate for her own bed.  
She went to the airport hoping to sleep many hours on the plane, but had to go through customs first.  
The customs agent looked at the woman and the passport photo, confused about the difference.  
The two were so dissimilar that she was pulled aside, interrogated for several hours and missed her flight.  

Family members had to fax photos back to the customs agent. 
When he was thoroughly convinced the passport actually belonged to the woman, she was free to go home.

Did this woman learn her lesson?  
She went home, took another set of photos as directed and looking “normal," then applied for a new passport.

I suppose there is merit in looking haggard in a photo, when after a trip I actually look and feel like it.

Apparently, I can’t win.

May all you travels have passport free photos... but if they do, grin and bear it.
I'd love to hear from you, email me at

Keep smiling.

1 comment:

  1. That was funny and a unique story. I have never thought of that good job...keeping me laughing. Anne H.