So, says the passport: time for an ugly, new photo.
The passport, let's just say, informed me of this recently when I happened to glance at its expiry date and noticed it was just around the corner.
OK, so it didn't tell me - exactly - that I would need to have the nasty photo shot. But that was certainly implied.
The passport photo - and yes, the driver's licence photo - are not, well, exactly flattering. Yours truly looks a bit like she's just discovered she's lost her job, and perhaps discovered that someone has stolen the photos of her children's first birthday parties.
She looks mean. And nasty. Kind of like she's poised to break into the neighbour's house, release their indoor cat and make off with all their homemade wine.
Let's just say they're not lovely. No wonder. It's mandated, seems to me, by the folks behind the cameras.
Last time I had a passport photo shot, the woman behind the camera seemed intent on capturing me at my worst.
"No smiling," she said.
So I didn't smile.
"Still too happy," she said.
I smiled even less - if you can manage a lack of smiling without smiling.
This time, I imagine, she will ask me to visit my "unhappy place" before she takes the shot.
"Frown," I am betting she'll see say. "Imagine you're renewing your passport because you're taking that trip to Paris you've been saving for for years. Then imagine the plane's overbooked and there just isn't room for you."
And if I am still not looking glum enough, she will continue with the theme.
"OK," she might say, "now imagine that you get on the next plane, only to discover that all the hotels in Paris have gone on strike, and that you'll have to sleep in a parking lot."
That might do it. For some reason, I am thinking the passport person - along with the driver's licence people - enjoy taking ugly shots of people who do not normally look, well, ugly.
"Oh," I am thinking one might say to another. "You wouldn't believe how ugly I got someone to look. I told him I was going to charge him $2,000 for the picture!"
They will laugh about this and then continue with the discussion.
"I can beat that," another might say, wiping the tears from her eyes. "Yesterday, I really had someone frowning. I told her I was going to put his picture on a mostwanted poster and send it to the FBI!"
Oh well. How they get their jollies is beyond me, I suppose. I'll have to bite the bullet and get the passport done. It's something we travellers just have to do, even though it's nothing to smile about.