A Windy McBeachI recently got my driver’s license renewed, and for the first time since I starting wearing glasses—over 35 years ago—I was asked to remove them for the photo.

“But I can’t see without them,” I told the man behind the desk. “So I certainly won’t be caught driving without them either.”

He smiled. “Facial recognition can be used on driver’s license photos now.”

“Huh?” (It wasn’t one of my snappier comebacks.)

I must have looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights. The last time I got my license renewed, I had done so online, and since I had no outstanding tickets or warrants or anything, had not been required to come in to the office for a new photo.

“Glasses can cause glare which interferes with the software,” the man continued. “And since a style of glasses can be easily changed, a person’s look can be dramatically altered in a matter of seconds.”

All of which was very interesting, and the information might someday find its way into a mystery I write, but it still didn’t quite register with me. I mean seriously, would anyone ever confuse me, a retired teacher, with a terrorist?FullSizeRender

But then I realized that if they didn’t add my photo to their database, that would be some type of reverse (or perverse) profiling, something I would definitely take a stand against. I had been proud of my lesson, taught high up on my soapbox on 9/11/01, admonishing my students that “all Muslims are not terrorists, just like all Germans were not Nazis.”

So naturally, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, or some such thing.

Without another word, I put my toes inside the green horseshoe lines, took off my glasses and smiled for the camera. Peering at my digital photo just moments later, even I didn’t “recognize” my likeness…

These are indeed the best of times and the worst of times.