And I’d get frustrated: “What’s wrong? Nothing’s wrong. I’m just relaxing, minding my own business. What’s wrong is you keep asking me what’s wrong. I’m fine.”
I never quite understood that until one day I took a good look at my passport photo, and it all became clear.
Here in Ontario, Canada, we have these things called Health Cards. They’re kind of like a driver’s license but every now and then we’re asked to show them when we visit a doctor’s office or a clinic or some place like that. That happened to me recently, and when I looked at the photo on my health card I was horrified. I was embarrassed. When I handed it over to the receptionist I said, “Please, don’t take this photo and the expression on it as indicative of how I feel about my visit here.”
You know the kind of photo. You’ve probably got one on your driver’s license or on your passport.
It’s the kind of photo where you’re not allowed to smile or even put the corners of your mouth up, even just the slightest little bit. Your resting face. I don’t know what your resting face looks like, but mine, at least on my passport, looks like it’s going to be really bad news if we let this guy into the country.
The resting face. To do that and to just look rested and not maniacal … it’s hard to do! There’s got to be a way to do it so you don’t look like a convicted killer’s mugshot when you’re just sitting there doing nothing.
No wonder people used to ask me, “Kev, what’s wrong? And are you okay?” At least I’m now aware of it and I can leave at least one of the corners of my mouth slightly upturned. It gives a bit better impression.
As for going into other countries and crossing international borders, there’s not much I can do about the requirements of those photos, but at least I can smile and let those people know:
“I realize how it looks, but really, I am quite happy to be here.”
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