How much leeway is there for estimating the weight on your driver’s license?
I posted this as a status update on Facebook because I feel it is a serious problem. Could I be arrested for “careless estimating” or possibly get a ticket for “lying to the police” if I was ever found out. I don’t think I would be arrested for something like that, but as someone who tries to obey the law most (I do speed on a regular basis) of the time, I don’t really want to find out for sure.
I started down this road of little white lies about 17 years ago or when we all thought the world might end because of Y2K. It was a few weeks before my birthday and I received a notice that it was time to renew my license. I regularly worked six, and sometimes seven days a week for the post office, usually early morning—like 3:00 am early—and at that stage in my career never knew when my next day off would be.
I was sent home early one morning for lack of work and luckily the driver’s license office was open that day. I couldn’t remember looking at myself in the mirror that morning and my license photo bore that evidence. I was a mess. My hair wasn’t combed. I had on a dirty t-shirt. I had a nasty-looking cold sore on my lip. I had that glazed-eyed look of someone who had either been on a two-day drunk or stayed up all night. In my case, since I got up at 1:00 am, it’s like I’d been up all night.
What I remember most about this license was changing the amount I weighed. I increased it from 150 to 175 pounds, which was a bit more than I weighed at the time. Seven years passed and it was time to renew again. I elected to renew through the mail and wouldn’t have to renew the license again for another 10 years. Until 2017.
A lot has changed in the last 17 years. I no longer work for the post office. I no longer work those crazy hours. I don’t get up at 1:00 am (sometimes, I do, but that’s usually to get a snack or go pee). I no longer have uncombed hair. And I no longer have a cold sore. I wasn’t really concerned about what the license picture would look like because I knew it was going to be bad. (I think you only get one good license photo in your lifetime and I’d already had mine.)
What I was concerned about the most was finding all of the documentation needed to prove who you really are to those staring back at you through the plate glass windows at the DMV. Georgia was one of those states that implemented strict new guidelines when it comes to getting your license. I had every piece of identification I’d ever had including old college ids, expired passports, and even an old rental card from Blockbuster. Plus, I had my old license, my birth certificate, and my original social security card which is just barely holding its shape. I was ready.
l presented all of these items to the lady behind the counter and said “I didn’t know what to bring, so I brought everything.”
She smiled and said “Honey, I’ve seen a lot more than that, but I only need your old license, birth certificate, and something with your current address. Go ahead and answer those questions for me and stand right there.”
I handed her the required documents, answered the questions (which included the weight question), and stood still for my picture. “Are we done?” I asked.
“Almost,” she said. “The fee is $32 and you should receive your new license in about a week. Here’s a paper copy until the real one arrives in the mail. Have a nice day.”
In and out in less than 30 minutes. That’s one bright side about living in a rural area. I looked at my license and just as I suspected, the picture was terrible. What caught my attention, however, was the number identifying my weight. It was off. By a lot. I mean way off—and not even close by a mile.
As I tend to do these days, I forgot about it until the subject came up again. I moved. And in Georgia, when you move, you are required to update your license with your new address. It’s a free service and I was able to do it online, but…but…but that same damn pesky question popped up “What is your current weight?”
I can’t say I don’t know because I know exactly how much I weigh because I’ve been going to and then crying at Weight Watchers after weighing in for the last several months. It’s increasing instead of decreasing. And NOW the DMV wants to get personal again.
I’d had it.
That is what led me to post the FB status. Maybe, I was breaking the law? Is there such a law? If I’d thought about it at the time, I might have paused and tried to find the answer online, but I clicked “yes” to everything still being the same so I could be done with it.
Although, I liked what my friend Krystal said about it: “Pick a friend and ask how much they think you weigh—just don’t pick the friend who is brutally honest.”
The problem is pretty much everyone I associate with is brutally honest, so I’d do the next best thing: I’d ask a woman’s best friend. Which in my case, is my cat Ralphie.
I’d hold him while looking into a full-length mirror. “Yo, Ralphie? How much you think Mama G. weighs today?”
“You got that right. And not an ounce more.”