In Illinois you have to renew your driver's license when you turn 26. I have been looking forward to this event for quite some time...really, ever since I left the Secretary of State office at the age of 21. You see, the last time the guy taking my picture didn't tell me when he was going to take it, and so he snapped my mug while I was waiting--completely expressionless--for the signal to smile. Result: a picture so pathetic you might have thought my dog had just died. I know, I know, in the grand scheme of things one's DL pic doesn't really matter much, and a particularly bad one even makes for a great ice breaker when party conversation is feeble at best, but I have to confess I feel much better now that my DL pic sports a smile rather than a vacant stare.
Today, my experience at the Secretary of State office was so pleasant that I want to take back any jokes I've ever cracked--or laughed at--about the DMV. I walked in and was immediately beckoned up to the counter. The lady who processed my new license was as pleasant and helpful as could be. The nice young man at the camera gave me plenty of warning, and I was out of there, new license in hand, not 3 minutes later. I even received a friendly greeting on my way out the door. Jesse White - way to go on hiring those people. Sec of State office staff - I salute you!