Proper Identification


I carried my California driver’s license until it expired. My photograph was taken at the Redwood City DMV, months before 9/11 and somehow when I got it renewed they allowed me to keep the same picture from when I was 22 years old. I like to think I aged gracefully, but when I sold my car to a junkman he questioned whether I was using someone else’s ID card.

Last May I finally got my Florida license. I waited in a long line behind a man who kept complaining how long it was taking which in turn was getting me riled up. Eventually it was my turn and I had a new picture taken.

It had been over a year since I had cut my hair and my locks had gotten long. It wasn’t until I stared at my picture that I realized how long my hair had grown. I looked like Michael Bolton. The frightening thing was I actually liked that I looked like Michael Bolton.

But the summer is hot and my hair kept growing and in a fit of energy I decided to rid myself of my hair. I had been threatening to do it all summer with each dread that I felt knotted up in my mane, but every time I pulled out my ID I thought I should keep my hair. Nobody has heard from Michael Bolton after all since he cut off his hair. And if there was one lesson I learned from the Bible it involves poor Samson.

But for the umpteenth time in my life I went against religion. I walked into a barber shop that promised ten dollar haircuts. A man was in the back reading a book. I asked how much he would charge to shave my head.

“You want me to shave that? No, I won’t do it.”

So I began to walk out of the store, when he stopped me. “You OK if I shave it with the machine.” He took out an electric razor.

I said “Yes.” His English wasn’t so great, but I guess he thought I wanted him to shave it with a straight razor. It didn’t take him more than a couple minutes to lop off all the hair I had been growing for months. I asked him what he was reading.

“The Bible.” he said. I started wondering how much the chapter on Samson had to do with him refusing his services.

He finished it up. In the mirror I thought I looked younger, though less like Michael Bolton.

Now when I hand someone my ID I have to explain, it is me but I shaved my head.

And it doesn’t expire until 2023.



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