Patriotic Photos and Other Tips

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“Government data. You just have to love government data. Because there is nothing so delightfully absurd.” ~ Charles Featherstone

Well, it’s that time of year again. Things to do. Stuff to take care of. Errands to avoid. Along with all the regular daily affairs that clutter up our minds and schedules with minute details there are the uniquely important ones that come only at this time of year: New tires for the car, buying gifts for the kids, and making sure you renew your driver’s license before it expires… My driver’s license has expired!?

Oh, being a good husband and father and all of the irresponsibilities that go with it.

Our better half seems to find it none too amusing when we, in our haste to avoid getting things done, seem to disregard the little notice envelopes that come in the mail — especially the ones from our friends in the government or the Department of Motor Vehicles. What’s those people’s problems? Don’t they ever write just to say, “Hello!”?

Well, as a matter of fact, they don’t — while there is legislation pending before congress to approve of government distributed “Hello!” letters, there are no federally approved “Hello!” forms as of the time of the writing of this article.

But back to the year-end cheer. If you’re like most husbands, you’ve gotten everything done by now — well most of it — that you’re supposed to have done: Presents for everyone; clean underwear for the dinner at the wife’s folks’ home; you’ve even showed up to work on time lately in the hopes that your boss will give you a decent bonus this year. You’ve done more than what was expected of you. Good job.

But what about the man in your life? What about the most important man on the face of the entire earth? You know of course who it is that I am talking about — that’s right, number one: Yourself. What do you give the man that already has everything?

Let’s face it: God’s gift to the women of the world does not need much else — Lord knows that we already look and smell our best without the cologne or new neckties. And why would we want our wife and kids to buy us something that we don’t want? Something, I might add, that just winds up costing us cash out of our own pockets. No thanks, right?

How many times have you heard that song that goes, “I wish it could be Christmas everyday of the year”? Probably once too many by now — but wouldn’t it be wonderful if every day really could be Christmas? Well, it can be. Today I’m going to give you some super tips on how to make your life more exciting over the coming 12 months — and show you how you can add just a touch more pizzazz and adventure to your daily hum-drum.

But how? Well, luckily for all of us, this is where the boys down at City Hall come to the rescue. Yep, you read right. How many times have you wanted to live the life of an International Man of Adventure? To always be on the run? To boldly go where no man has ever gone before? To be like me?

Here are a few things to keep in mind for the coming year on how you can spice up that drab and dreary existence — and all with the cooperation of our friendly government!

Your taxes and documentation for 2005

For example, take the tax office, please! Just kidding. No really, the tax office guys are your friends. They need you. It’s true. Now any true-blue patriot knows that it is your duty to cheat on your taxes as much as possible, as often as possible. That’s right. The government guys actually want you to cheat! If no one cheated, then we wouldn’t need a tax office, would we? What would those people do if you didn’t cheat on your taxes? Why, they’d all be out of jobs, wouldn’t they? So you cheat on your taxes and the government gets to expand its services to stop people from cheating on their taxes. It’s the best of both worlds — everybody wins! And you do your part to help to create much-needed jobs for a better America.

So let’s all pitch in and help out by cheating on our taxes next year… You’ll be glad you did.

I.D. Cards and Photo Documentation

“Great Mike. But I already cheat on my taxes, how else can I help?” Well, glad you asked. Never forget this simple rule: There’s any number of ways you can help the government to help you in doing whatever it is the government is supposed to help you in doing — faster and much more efficiently. So don’t forget to take a number.

Let’s say you do need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get your driver’s license renewed. Now this is one of the best and most memorable ways to earn a “present” from a visit to a government office that I can think of. And it’s a gift that just keeps on giving the year round.

For example, I had to have my driver’s license renewed the other day. For most people this would be a royal pain-in-the-you-know-what. But think about it, does the guy at the DMV actually want to work? Does s/he want to see your ugly face? Doesn’t s/he deserve to pick his navel as much as the next guy? So if this little process is going to be a headache for everyone involved, you might as well try to make the best of it.

Look, I’ll be earnest with you if you are frank with me: You need that driver’s license — and the guy at the DMV wants to “chill” as much as possible. What to do?

Well do what I do: Make a driver’s license that you can be proud of — and the people at the DMV won’t soon forget. That’s right. What could be more treasured than a true “keeper” from the DMV? And what could brighten up the day for a DMV worker as much as having a guy like me come in for his driver’s license registration? Not much.

The best way to make a driver’s license that you can cherish and keep as a family heirloom is by having your photo taken with the most preposterous, ridiculous looking face that you can possibly make. Now that’s what I call a worthwhile trip to the DMV.

“Yes, but Mike, they always tell me not to smile or make a pleasant face when I take my photo for my driver’s license.” That’s right. They do — it’s their job. But do you want to be like everyone else? If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you? Are you a lemming? No! You are an individual! You want a photo on your driver’s license that you’d be proud to show to your friends all year round. That’s why you want the stupidest, most idiotic, most absurd looking photo you can possibly get away with on your driver’s license.

Now, think about it for a moment — is there anyone who actually is happy with their driver’s license photo? I’ve never met anyone who was. So why not take a photo that will become a conversation piece?

At some places, the government guys will allow you to take your own photo for your documentation — passports, etc. — so those are easy to make stupid faces on. But not at the DMV. There is a secret to getting that super photo with that unbelievable face that will make you the life of parties and having all your friends wanting one too!

What you need to do:

  • Plan ahead. Try not to shower or shave for at least 6 days before going to get your picture taken — especially you women! Never comb your hair. When applying makeup, do it in a moving vehicle on the way to the DMV — particularly you gentlemen.
  • Always check to see what time the DMV stops accepting applications. Let’s say it stops at 4 PM. Wonderful. You show up at about 3:45. Take your time. They aren’t going anywhere — and if you show up near closing time, they’ll just want you out of there ASAP so they can go home the usual ten minutes early.
  • Always be the nicest, most pleasant, lovingly patient person in the entire world. Say “hello” to everyone. Hold the door open for old ladies and their dogs.
  • Always look around and act confused.
  • Chew a few raw garlic cloves just before you go into the DMV. Boy, does that smell bad! When your name or number is called, always try to get as close to the staff worker as possible so you can blow some of that fragrance du garlique right into their faces. You are in no rush — you like being at the DMV! They’ll love that and will want to help you along your merry way as quickly as possible.

Now I already mentioned that the DMV people won’t let you make a scowl or some stupid face just as they are taking your picture, so how do you get around that? Simple. Make sure you are making an idiotic face the entire time you are in said DMV. That’s right. From the very moment you step into the door, you should be making a crazed scowl or gritting your teeth — furrowed brows are a nice touch, too. Don’t forget to wrap several band-aids on the bridge of your glasses!

I know that there are a lot of crappy method actors/actresses out there (Lord knows we’ve all seen Mel Gibson one too many times) but I believe in the Stanislavski school of acting: If you want to take a picture that makes you look like a psycho then your acting has to come from within! You must think, “I am a fruit basket; I am a looney — I am Monty Python.” Mind control is the key word here. Mind control the entire time you are in the DMV — not just when you are going to have your picture taken. If you do this, then when the person taking your photo wants to say something, they can’t! What can they say? Not a whole heck of a lot! (Preferably, they’ll feel sorry for you).

Let’s say you are sitting there with a twisted look — the lady is about to take your photo. She stops. What’s she going to say to you? “Uh, excuse me, sir, can you try to look normal?” No way. If she does say anything, stay in character! Ignore what she says and ask her if hair is sticking out of your nose or something — hell, pull at your nose hairs and ask her if you can borrow her tweezers. If that doesn’t work, tell them that you haven’t taken your medication for that day.


My new driver’s license — pretty cool, eh?

Now, I know a lot of you are laughing right now and you think I’m joking. But I am not. Think about it: There are, actually, lots of very strange looking people running around. I’ve seen them. So have you. Isn’t it just possible that they know something that you and I don’t?

Once you get the first license with the stupid face on it, it will be easier to get the second, then third. I know, I’ve done it. You younger folks can use your license at bars as a “pick-up” line: “Wanna see my driver’s license?” S/he will probably immediately fall in love with you right there on the spot. I know my wife did.

Imagine the hours of fun the family will have too! With grandchildren on your knee, you’ll show them the just absolutely insane photos you got away with in your youth. The grandkids will all giggle and scream with laughter and say, “And grandpa, did you get better?”


The John Dillinger look — suave, sophisticated, unshaven

The Patriot Act

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” ~ John F. Kennedy

I’ve noticed recently where several “famous” writers have complained that the Patriot Acts allow for “them” to check through our garbage, see what kinds of books and magazines we read; accumulate all sorts of information on us as to where we go and what we do, things like that.

Well, if you aren’t doing anything or going anywhere that day, then what’s the problem?

Frankly speaking, folks who work for the government need jobs too, so why fight the system? Go with it, I say. Let’s all put our differences aside and work towards making what we have work — rather than complaining all the time, like some “Austrian grandmothers” who will remain nameless at this time. I think folks who have to dig through our garbage to make a living need all the help they can get.

Believe me, looking through someone’s garbage is no easy chore. So make it fun for the folks who do. How? This is really simple and your imagination is the limit.

Start, for example, by doing simple things: Always tear up any paper that you throw away into a thousand little pieces — remembering to only throw away half the torn paper at a time. FBI people just love puzzles. Do you eat eggs? Of course you do. Whenever disposing of egg shells, make sure that you only throw away 1/2 an egg shell at any given time! Imagine the fun and excitement the FBI guys will have when they find only 1/2 an egg shell in your trash! “What happened to the other half?” Or, “Could this be a sign of some kind of satanic worship going on at the breakfast table?” They’ll have hours of enjoyment trying to figure out what happened to the other 1/2 of the shell. I know I would.

Magazine subscriptions? Sure. Sign up for all the magazines you possibly can — making sure you send out cancellation notices the next day!

In Summation

Now, there’s a few too many folks who think that the government has gotten too large for our own good. There seems to be a lot of folks who have some idea that the government is some over-bloated Titanic just sucking up people’s tax money in bureaucratic nonsense. I just have to ask those folks, “So what’s your point?”

Have you ever worked for the government? If the answer is “No” then perhaps one of us is talking out of their hat. Good folks who work for the government need our support — not our incessant complaining.

So that’s why I am asking you to join with me in making our government as well as the Patriot Act a successful — and fun — venture for all of us in the coming year. So join the crowd! Shout it out loud!

After all, it is your duty as a freedom loving American to cooperate! God bless America! And God bless the American way! If you use your imagination to help them to help you, then we can all enjoy a safe, humorous, and terrorist free nation in 2005. You’ll be glad you did.

Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has worked as an independent writer, producer, and personality in the mass media for nearly 30 years.

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