Have you ever come across the dreaded Passport Nazi?
AS OF the start of the new financial year, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has decreed that those who wear glasses to correct their vision may no longer wear them when their passport photo is taken.
Apparently this is so we can be more easily matched with our photos using face recognition software.
A quick check of the appropriate website also reveals that you may not smile, laugh, or frown, your eyes must be open and your mouth closed (unless you're less than three years of age).
Now, I don't know about you, but I've rarely had an official photograph taken with which I was pleased, apart from my 2006 driver's licence pic, shot by the very nice women at the Lismore RTA (as it was in those days).
They kindly conferred over the first image, suggested I fluff my hair a little and tuck my chin(s) in a little more and voila!
The passport photo I had done around the same time wasn't quite so successful.
For reasons which will become clear, I will not reveal where I went to get that photo done.
Suffice it to say, the public servant who took the photo - I later discovered - was known to all and sundry as The Passport Nazi.
Five times I went to hand in the application, and five times they sent me away because they deemed something was out of order with the paperwork.
I even had accusations levelled at me of altering the shading on the form I had downloaded and printed out at home.
Why they thought I would go to all that time and effort to render something unusable wasn't adequately explained to me.
The photo I first attached was rejected and I had to pose for a new one, after standing in line for quite some time and arguing (pointlessly) that the pic ticked all the boxes. (It was later accepted by the passport office.)
The new one this person took made me look like a serial killer.
That's because I was incandescent with rage after all the argy bargy, and trying desperately to not let it show for fear of further recriminations.
I ended up going to a different post office. No expression? Not quite.
And as for that no expression rule... I don't know about you but when, passport in hand, I've just emerged from an airborne sardine can with aching legs and back from being crammed into a seat for 13 hours next to a screaming baby (Business Class? Dream on!), I find it very difficult to muster up a neutral expression.
Perhaps if they allowed you to look like you are in pain, sleep deprived and jet lagged in your passport portrait, the facial recognition software would nail it every single time.