5/01/2006

I Bet I Think This Song Is About Me

All this talk by Justacoolcat about the DMV and accompanying comments about license photos got me to thinking about my first passport photo. Thanks be to other bloggers for giving me story ideas or it would just be a bunch of empty space over here.

When I was planning an exciting life abroad, friends recommended a particular photographer to me who had a studio a few blocks from where I work. They said he was a miracle worker.

Now, I don't like to think of myself as the type of guy who needs a miracle but who am I to say? Everyone's had torch carrying villagers follow them around now and again haven't they?

I found my way to the studio time forgot in a little plaza-ette tucked away between a couple of office buildings. Without an address to search for, I probably never would have even noticed the place.

Walking in, I could see an old tyme camera, the kind that uses photographic plates, movable lights that looked large enough to light Norma Desmond and a single chair in front of a plain backdrop.

From a small door in the back came Mr. S. Diminutive and all a-tweed, he welcomed me in with a warm smile asking if I needed photographs taken.

I told him that friends had recommended him as the best and that I needed passport photos taken. He smiled, nodded and pointed to the chair. Sit sit, he said.

Next, I was given a complex set of instructions - lean forward a bit and look to the left, a little more to the left, now look up at me, rest your left elbow on your knee. Variant tweaks continued until all my settings were just so.

He darted behind the camera, slammed the photo plate down, said hold it hold it and then one old fashioned click and he whipped the plate back up and headed for the darkroom. He said he'd be a few minutes.

I now had time to notice that at the front of the store, there were brightly coloured glass bowls and vases that were for sale and looked like they must have originated perhaps on a different continent.

A few moments later, the door opened at the back again and I turned to see a frowning Mr. S. Uh oh, I thought, we're in for some retakes. I'm not the most photogenic person truth be told.

He looked down at the photos, back up at me, pursed his lips and said The man in these photographs is wanted. He paused to great effect. Wanted by Hollywood! And with that, he flipped the photographic paper around so I could behold his brilliant work.

I'm only being a little vain when I say that this photograph of me was stunning. I can say this because I am not stunning in real life. I am average. But here, for the first time, I was clock stoppingly handsome.

Never did I more proudly present my passport. It didn't matter where, I would just flip it open like I was a cop producing a badge. At McDonald's to the puzzled geriatric asking me if I wanted fries with that, at bars to bald double chinned bouncers, in crowded elevators, while grocery shopping, in bookstores, you get the picture. So to speak.

The passport has now expired and I have retired it with sadness.

I went back for a new one and damn, if he didn't make me feel all special and look great again.

Sadly, the creeps at the passport office put a whole bunch of new security features all over my face so now I just look the schlub that I am.

4 comments:

Holly said...

My current driver's license is like your first passport: I can't believe how great I look in it! I know its replacement won't be anywhere near as good.

But I rather like the photo you post at the end of your entry--the poor guy has such sad eyes, you can't help but sympathize with him. Surely that's something you can capitalize on when traveling abroad?

Dale said...

I use all the tricks - the sad eyes, the This Space For Rent forehead, the knobby kneck.

If none of that charms them, I extend my arms, lurch and lumber a bit and the place is mine.

Tanya Espanya said...

Ah, Mr. Starkiss! I love that story! It's true, though, you go in looking like Jabba the Hutt and you come out looking like Angelina Pitt. You can still go in there and get him to make you a regular picture, even if it's not for the passport. Stop flashing everyone!

Dale said...

I hope you spelled his name wrong on purpose because I was trying not to expose him to the world, he's my secret through your crazy famille. I look more like Maddox Jolie-Pitt when I come out.