The new Minnesota driver’s licenses will not be compatible with something called Real ID, which means that everyone is now the equivalent of a teen trying to get into a club. You have a Fake ID.
The reason? We’re told that there’s a shortage of materials used to make the Real ID. Maybe it’s printed on whale skin with bumblebee blood for ink, or something. The Real IDs were introduced by an act of Congress only 12 years ago, so you can understand how the issue caught them by surprise in the purchasing department.
Try that excuse when, say, you get pulled over and hand the cop your ID.
“Sir, this expired 12 years ago.”
“Yeah, well, I had a shortage of things. Time, money, you know how it goes.”
“Sir, a Real ID will be needed to enter federal facilities, as well as nuclear power plants.”
“That’s a dang shame, because I told the wife I’d pick up some spent fuel rods on the way home. Can’t you give a guy a break?”
“Alright, this time, but take care of this license by 2030.”
Sure, that’ll happen.
As far as I can tell, the main difference in the redesigned license is a “ghost image” of the cardholder’s photo that makes it look as if the DMV clerk double-exposed the picture.
The Minnesota IDs also will have a new security feature: If you hold the license up to the light, a walleye is visible.
So now the cop who pulls you over at 1 a.m. will be holding up the ID he suspects to be fake, thinking: “Am I sure that’s a walleye? What if it’s a northern? I’d better call for backup to get a second opinion.” Then two cops will be holding it up, arguing: “I think this is fake. That’s a carp.”
“Nah, that’s a pickerel.”
“So it is fake. It’s supposed to be a walleye.”
“It is a walleye. We call walleyes ‘pickerels’ in Canada.”
“I didn’t know you grew up in Can — hey, the guy I stopped drove away.”
These are all great improvements, but what we really want is more flattering photos. If you smile for the camera, you look like you’re thinking: “My pants are on fire! Hail, Satan!”
If you don’t smile, you look like a dunce who just said, “I had a potato once, but it died.”
Now, the praise: I had to get a new license last week, and the Hennepin County staff couldn’t have been more friendly or efficient. The clerk said I’d get the license in a week. If you’ve had experience with big city DMVs, they make Soviet-era officials look like Chick-fil-A staff. We’re so spoiled.
I hope the license comes packed in ice, though. After a few days in the mail, that walleye’s going to smell.
firstname.lastname@example.org • 612-673-7858 • Twitter: @Lileks • facebook.com/james.lileks