This is the second time in three years I have had felt the need to blame George Bush for something other than the invasion of Iraq. In January 2008, he was responsible for my pizza arriving stone cold in Jerusalem (see blog post). Today, I blame him for my passport photo being rejected.
It is all to do with biometrics. More and more countries are insisting on visitors having them and therefore on countries issuing them. It supposedly prevents fraud, forgery and international terrorists.
Small problem, I have buck teeth.
The regulations of my new country require a photo taken with a neutral expression and mouth closed. You are under no circumstances to smile.
I submitted my application this morning and was told my photos were unacceptable because one small part of one of my front teeth was visible. I tried to explain that I can't close my mouth without my lips assuming a "smile position", which was verboten. So, what are the likes of Cilla Black, Janet Street Porter, Bugs Bunny and myself supposed to do? Clearly, we are too toothy for a biometric passport.
I returned to the photographer to have another set of photos taken. I took the previous ones and explained what the issue was. They kindly agreed to re take the photos. I needed Velcro, or superglue to keep my lips firmly over my mouth for the nano second it took to press the shutter. It took six attempts to get something that improved on the original photos.
If by some miracle the passport photo is approved, I am going to have to practice the contorted expression at every passport control for the next five years.
But you know what really puzzles me. I could wear a full head covering, which would disguise my hair colour and style, and that would be fine.
As our American friends would say, “Go figure”!