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It's not OK to smile in some statesPosted Monday, September 24, 2012, at 2:01 PM
I've often heard that the world always looks brighter from behind a smile.
Wise words from the late Mother Teresa told us, "Peace begins with a smile."
In recent days there's been a lot of media upheaval about New Jersey's no-smile rule at the BMV.
Since January, if you go to get your driver's license in New Jersey, you are being advised to put on your sad face or at least don't give too much of a grin when they snap your driver's license photo.
It seems New Jersey, like many other states, including Indiana, has banned "big" smiles, because officials say they interfere with new advanced facial-recognition technology.
Well, if you ask me, it gives folks plenty more reason to frown at those most-of-the-time awful looking photos snapped at the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Raymond Martinez, commissioner of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, says a "neutral smile" is OK.
What in the world is a neutral smile?
Can you smile, but show no teeth?
Elyse Coffey, a spokesperson for the Motor Vehicle Commission, said in an Associated Press story that a slight smile is acceptable, but people should not smile as if they won a lottery.
No smiles at the BMV is nothing new in Indiana.
Indiana, Arkansas, Nevada and Virginia banned smiles in 2009.
In Indiana, the law says you cannot smile, or wear glasses, hats or head scarves when taking driver's license photos.
Indiana BMV officials say a person's new photograph can be compared against old photographs on file -- more than 6 million dating back at least eight years -- to protect customers from identity fraud.
A big grinning smile distorts this process.
So much for advanced technology when it steps on one of the easy, simple things to do in life like smile.
In my humble opinion the states that have banned the "smile look" on BMV photos ought to consider the words of this poem of anonymous origin entitled "A Smile", which reads:
"It cost nothing, but creates much.
It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash and the memory of it lasts forever.
None are so rich they can get along without it and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign of friends.
It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature's best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away!
If someone is to tired to give you a smile, leave one of yours.
For, nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none to give."
Have a great and smiling day.
Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Nick on Twitter @GCDWSchneider .
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