My New Driver’s License and a Five-Year Retrospective


I finally received my Minnesota driver’s license over the weekend. My South Dakota driver’s license expired on my 26th birthday in September, meaning I now have one less link to my home state. That’s a little dramatic, I realize, but I’m proud to be a Minnesotan and I feel validated now with this new driver’s license.

When I first saw my new license, I was compelled to compare it to the old one. I noticed — as you might, too, from the picture above — some major differences:

I’m shrinking — At age 21, I listed myself at 6-2. At age 26, I listed myself at 6-0. The second height is accurate and the first one isn’t. The truth is I always wanted to be taller. I guess at age 21 I was still holding out hope I might grow to be a small forward instead of a portly point guard. I’m happy with 6-0. It’s so much cooler than 5-11.

I survived college without becoming obese – Look at the first ID — I had jowls! At 21?! Despite all my best efforts, I now weigh 10 pounds less than I did the day I began to legally drink. That’s one hell of an accomplishment, considering all the beer, tater tots, nachos and pizza I put down in college. (It might have something to do with the fact I shrank two inches, too.)

Also shrinking: My hairline –  Look at that hair. That lush canopy of bangs. Look at that naive 21-year-old who thinks he’ll be gray before his hairline ever recedes, not knowing five years later, the race between graying and balding will run neck and neck.

That’s MPLS to you – OK, I’m a little annoyed with the state’s decision to use “MPLS” in place of “Minneapolis.” Clearly, there’s plenty of space. I don’t know if this is a technique to dupe counterfeiters, but as a former bouncer, I’d be more suspicious of the condensed, text-message version of Minneapolis. Sort of makes me miss my South Dakota license, which was patient enough to spell out all 10 letters of “Sioux Falls.”

I still write like a child – Are we done with handwriting yet? Can we just type everything now? Anyone can make out the “A” that starts my signature, but from then on, it’s a crap shoot. The government should have me writing coded messages, because no level of foreign intelligence could decipher that chicken scratch.

Wear and tear – You can’t see it by the picture, but my South Dakota license was falling apart. Most of the laminate on the back has curled up in the corners and the front side has several air bubbles. As the ID became less necessary, it started to look more like a fake. I’m holding on to this South Dakota license as a reminder I put it to good use in college and the years following. It’s something of a relic. New Minnesota license feels, frankly, like my adulthood certificate. New Minnesota license and I have yet to share any good times the way South Dakota license and I did.

Most importantly, this makes me a Minnesotan, right? I know, I know — I’m really a native South Dakotan, an expatriate who learned the language and tried to fit right in. This Minnesota license doesn’t mean I’m going to start watching hockey or drinking Grain Belt or wearing electric orange snowmobile jackets. Nonsense. But it does mean I can say “we” and “us” when referring to Minnesotans.

Jeez, that’s good enough for me.

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7 thoughts on “My New Driver’s License and a Five-Year Retrospective

  1. I wanted to do the same type of thing when I got my Massachusetts driver’s license, but these frickers gobbled up my Iowa ID so fast I couldn’t even react.

    Part of me wonders if the big plastic box they shoved ’em in was really a shredder or just meant to sound like a shredder, that way they can save everyone’s old IDs and sell ’em back to underage drinkers to turn a nice little side profit.

    F’n DMV.

  2. Congrats on becoming an official resident of Minnesota. Drink it in.

    I hope you registered to vote too!!! If not, all of us here in Minnesota understand and we’ll let you register on election day.

  3. When we moved to South Dakota 19 years ago, I gave up my Iowa driver’s license, my Iowa license plates and my Iowa teacher’s license…I like your retrospective…have I told you I am so glad that you kids are back in the mid-west?!

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