TO VELVET S. McNeil, a photograph of yourself carries a lot of weight.
It's a statement of your personality. It's how people will remember you when you're not around. It's your official image, your introduction to strangers, even, should you get kidnapped and the cops send your picture to all the newspapers and TV stations.
So she smiles when she's photographed.
"Your picture means a lot; it's who you are," said McNeil, 38, of Sicklerville, N.J.
So, when the manager of the Motor Vehicle Commission office in Cherry Hill told her Tuesday that she wasn't allowed to smile for her driver's-license picture, she balked - and left, saying that the office's staff couldn't adequately explain the smile ban.
"Why should we all look like androids, looking mopey? I know there are some people who don't have good driver's licenses, but I actually keep all mine," said McNeil, whose pleasantly smiling image adorns old licenses from the six states in which she's lived, as well as her debit and credit cards.