I got a little joke I like to pull on strangers. When a store clerk asks for my ID, I generally pass him or her my military identification card. And I’ll say: Please don’t laugh at my picture.
The very asking of a stranger not to laugh has caused dozens of store clerks to chuckle. Some before they even look at my picture! On the other hand, one Verizon guy promised me (very earnestly) that he would not crack up at my pic. Which made me laugh. He turned the tables on me, but look bewildered when I started chortling.
A Best Buy store-girl broke out into giggles two days ago when I dropped the line on her. I then added in my best pitiful voice: I really asked you not to laugh at me.
And while she apologized profusely (all the while chuckling), I laughed too. I then told her I was just kidding.
The thing that helps me pull off my little ruse is that when I had my identification card picture taken, I was absolutely seething. I had been down at 32nd Street Naval Base that day. And the clerk told me the wait was nearly ninety minutes. I told him no problem. I’ll be back.
I went about my work and returned an hour-and-a-half later. I got called in and the lady processing the very simple procedure asked me whether I’d been waiting outside.
Nope, I had work to do.
And she told me I was supposed to wait in the waiting room and she could not process me.
What? Go get your boss.
She returned with her supervisor, also a civilian. Who told me I was gonna have to go to the back of the line.
Go get your boss or take my picture, because I am not getting up from this chair.
I am the boss.
Tell me, how is the Navy supposed to run a business like this? I told your front office guy that I was coming back.
It is his first week here.
That is a phenomenally stupid policy, I said crossing my arms. Still, I am waiting for my picture.
She left the backroom and went to the front and started berating the poor new employee.
It is not his fault, I hollered from the back. I could have been long out of here by now.
She came back, all official-lke. Maybe, we can agree that he screwed up.
And the new employee came back and apologized to us both. Hey, it is not your problem, I told him. You are new here. But I have to get work done and for me to wait in the waiting room is ridiculous.
Moral of the story: she finally took my picture for my ID. I looked furious and could not hide it. Petty bureaucracy really irks me. But it has given me a great joke I can play on the unwitting store clerk.
(If you wonder what I look like in my ID picture, imagine this lionhead rabbit, Bentley, in a Navy uniform.)