Mugs the Word

Tiger Woods, my passport photo from 2016, and Nick Nolte.

I got my passport photo at CVS.

When the Curmudgeon asked if I had taken my documents to the post office to complete the deal, I shook my head.

“I wouldn’t let anyone who looks like this on a plane,” I said. “And I don’t think anyone who looks like this is entitled to a trip or deserving of overseas travel. Anyone who looks like this should do the world a favor and stay home.”

I finally got the courage to show it to him today. He seen me at my absolute worst, so how bad could it be? I handed him the small orange envelope with “Bon Voyage” on the front cover. He opened it, and then sort of threw it away from him.

“Bon voyage is right,” he said. “Take off, and don’t come back. You look like a hard-knock woman. Have you thought about getting a job at the Country Tavern?”

I asked him if I should put it on the blog. “Are you kidding me?” he said. “It’s not fit for human consumption. Maybe if you could put it on for a second and have it disappear. But do you really want it up permanently?”

I showed it to my friend John as I cried in my tonic water and lime over a particularly pathetic golf round. “You look,” he said, “like Charlize Theron in Monster.” I haven’t seen the film, but recall reading that Charlize gained a ton of weight, didn’t wash her hair or wear makeup during filming.” Thanks Johnny.

Of course, I could give the “Monster” a run for her money. Stringy hair. Jowls. Tird, very tired eyes. Old lady neck. The absence of lips and eyebrows.

I don’t know why we’re not entitled to a re-take, but I think when you get photos like this you just want to run away as fast as you can and be alone. It’s sort of like when you get a bad grade in school, or wiped off the tennis court. You had high hopes of doing well, but then reality stepped in.  The photo kind of confirms your worst fears, and you need a little time to regroup.

It was so bad that I rifled through my room when I got home, looking for a passport photo I had taken two years ago. By some miracle, I found it, so chances are good I will actually attend a wedding in London this summer.

It was so bad that it makes my driver’s license photo look fantastic. It was so terribly disturbing that I’m considering an eye lift or at the very least, a $99 Keratin treatment for my hair. It was definitely a wake-up call, one of those ah-ha moments when you say, “I can’t believe I leave the house looking like this.”

In my defense, the chances of getting a good passport photo are pretty slim. You can’t smile or show any teeth. As if that’s not bad enough, you have to scrape your hair behind you ears, not a terribly flattering look. You’re standing against a stark white background and staring down the CVS candy aisle, not an ideal setting.

Still, you are unprepared for the results, which are so much worse than your Costco photo. Think Nick Nolte’s mug shot, or Tiger Woods after his recent arrest. A glazed look in your eyes, though you haven’t been drinking. Washed out. Haggard. Scary.

Of course, in this digital age, there are plenty of times you catch yourself on camera and think, “Oh dear” or maybe even “Holy sh&!”.  The worst is when you’re reclined in your bed scrolling through your phone and mistakenly activate the selfie button. “Who the . . . oh, I guess that’s me with no chin,” you think. And then you make sure that you haven’t accidentally taken a photo and posted it on Instagram. Because seriously, you wouldn’t want that image of you ingrained in everyone’s mind even for a second.

There is also the matter of cameras at the Wal-mart self check-out line, yet another reason to avoid it. As you’re scanning items, you look up to see a tiny screen capturing your transaction. You don’t think you look particularly bad, and yet there is no denying the image staring back at you. So you look at the screen instead of watching what you’re doing, a little like staring in the rear-view mirror as you drive.

I don’t mind being on camera. I understand it’s necessary for security and I applaud technology that will keep us safer. But I don’t think we need to see video of us pumping gas or buying wine. I noticed a row of cameras at the bank yesterday that were just recording, and longed for the old days when you could go about your business without video proof of your every move.

Of course, I might feel differently if I was 30, but as my pal Lisa in Florida often reminds me, “That ship has passed.” Still, a little self-care is probably in order, at least when heading out in public. I don’t want to scare anyone ever again, especially me.


12 thoughts on “Mugs the Word

  1. I am with you, I was doing a video phone call with my daughter the other day and I could see myself in the little box in the left hand corner and it was awful, all I could think of was if this is what I look like after a day at work, I am right in thinking it is time to retire!


  2. None of us look good on our passport photos. But I agree, as we age, all those videos and photos are not only an invasion of privacy, but they are also downright depressing. I hate to Facetime with anyone because all I can see is my tired eyes and saggy chin.


  3. I just renewed my passport and, of course, my photo had to be updated. I love Walgreens, but my photo from there was truly awful. I feel your pain, sister! 😁


  4. When I first read this I thought you were being way hard on yourself and then I got my driver’s license in the mail. I’m writing a post about it. The pic is terrible and I was freaking out about it. That pic cant possibly be me!


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