p__mata-hari.jpg(See?  Even Mata Hari took a bad picture now and then)

I had my passport photos taken today.  The last time I had it done, I was in college and the school had provided a photographer for the students who were going on a semester abroad program.  My pictures were some of the best ever taken of me.  Times have changed.

I went to the corner store (a chain that sells everything from prescription medication to cigarettes).  First, the photo clerk took my picture.  Then I was called back to have my picture retaken by the assistant manager.  The whole thing seemed to be a training exercise.  I get my pictures, pay for them and take them home.  Then I looked at them.  First of all, I am well aware that I am not the most photogenic of folks.  I’m attractive enough for daily life, but once you capture my image, my how I change.  So I’m not expecting something by Annie Liebowitz or anything.  But, to my mind, the picture looks a little like a mug shot.  I look mean and hard.  And my eyes look tiny, although my head looks like one of those giant balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.  And it is out of focus (imagine how frightening it would look if it were in focus).  And I think to myself.  I can’t believe I paid eight dollars for this.  I am a skilled photographer, and I could have done a much better job, but the US government seems to be so fussy about these things.  So I will take my blurry mug shot to the Post Office tomorrow, and after 6 to 8 weeks, I will be able to terrorize customs officials all over the globe with this picture.  The French, with their artistic sensibilities, ought to love it.