Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Driver's Licenses: A Progression

Does a driver's license have more than one purpose?

Certainly a license, issued by the state and earned by a driver proves that the holder has passed all the requirements to drive a vehicle in the state in which it was issued.  Endorsements on that license help to prove the holder's qualifications for operating different kinds of vehicles, their ability to haul cargo, and their capacity to understand all the applicable rules.

Too, the license helps to substantiate the holder's identity should he want to prove his legal age to purchase alcohol, enroll at a college, write an out of town check, or buy a casino's buffet with valuable earned credits!   (Of course, to prove a voter's identity with a driver's license would be too discriminatory.  Let's not go there.)

Driver's licenses also help to identify unconscious and deceased accident victims while indicating too their organ donor status. 

The purpose then, for the driver's license, is multifold.  None of the purposes of the driver's license have ever been arbitrary, though now its usage is beginning to waver on that front.

The People's State of California is considering a change to their driver's licenses that would include an X as a sex indicator.  This is one of the first of many steps being taken today to blur the definition of  the sex that was "assigned" at birth by God and that pesky swirl of chromosomes that make up our being.

Thankfully most identification cards eschew color photos of our junk and a person's sex is taken at the word of the holder.  However, when it comes to identifying the body of a person badly injured in an accident, in the absence of a junk shot, paramedics might have to rely on something a little more concrete than the fluidity of gender choice.

It is true also that in the years that elapse between the times that a driver's license picture is taken a person's looks can change.  Glasses are changed or discarded, hair color and length (and thickness in my case) change, older people shrink, and everybody lies on their weight anyway.   The blond haired, blue eyed, physically fit devil portrayed in the photo might actually look, well, a lot more like me when current events are taken into consideration.  (My junk is still M.)

The natural progression at play here makes identification potentially misleading in many situations and without purpose. 

In a woefully inadequate speech class (instructed by a woefully inept graduate assistant) we were given an assignment to speak to those in the rest of our class about who we were as individuals.

Wait for it....yes!  Collage time.

Beside the fact that I felt I had outgrown such an exercise by about 8th grade, we college frosh spent several class periods explaining to each other why some of us were going to be so successful (in pictures) while the most discerning among us figured out rather quickly why, despite the fact our building was covered in Virginia Creeper, we weren't actually attending an Ivy League school.  The collage was our identity and our junk could be whatever we wanted it to be.

I'm pretty sure that is where we are heading...at least until driver's licenses become completely obsolete and autonomous vehicles dominate the roads.  We won't need a license to ride in a self driving car, will we?

Still, identifications will remain relevant for the other purposes mentioned above, but the farther we wade into identity fluidity, the more a collage might actually be the better route for those negotiations at the casino buffet counter.   

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