This early october of twenty- twelve
I learn that the state of New Jersey
has passed a new law:  no smiling
while in the department of motor vehicles.

You would think, given most folks’
experience in this usually cantankerous
atmosphere this rule would be superfluous.

But, you see, when they snap your photo,
if you smile the new face-recognition
software might not recognize you.

It works by comparing a master license
image to subsequently collected shots
to make sure they match up.

That is, smiling or –god forbid–any odd
or exaggerated gesture could be problematic,
making it more difficult for the software

to recognize your everyday self going about
your everyday business at the post office,
the bank, in a store or on the street where

you’re not expected to be smiling very much.

4 responses »

  1. I just loved this poem. I guess we shouldn’t smile in our daily lives. I just had my ID picture taken at work so I can use a prime staff/faculty parking lot. and I didn’t smile. Yuk! the picture is awful. but who cares. We will become a country of gloomy appearances. Eileen

  2. Though I am reading this after almost two years of being posted, it seems as ridiculous as it would have been when posted. Are we becoming slaves to technology? That makes sense, because slaves, I assume, would not be laughing much.

    • I never cease to be amazed at what bureaucracy can concoct, and with a straight face. Good thing there’s a certain diabolical pleasure some of us can take in writing for the theater of the absurd…

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