Take my identity - please

Identity theft has been in the headlines a lot lately, and my sister Winnie is hoping to be the next victim. She just renewed her driver's license. "Look at this photo! I look like I've been living in the bottom of my purse," she gasped. "If anyone wants to steal my identity, they're more than welcome to it."

She'd even paid extra so she wouldn't have to return to get another frightening photo for six more years.

"Oh, it's not so bad," I said. "I've taken worse photos."

"When?" she demanded.

I couldn't lie. "Oh, you know. On that last camping trip." I didn't need to elaborate. She remembered how it had rained three days straight and my hair mildewed.

Really, though, this identity theft thing could backfire on the thief. For example, the other day a man in line at the supermarket frantically scrambled for his driver's license so he could write a check. He finally pulled out a membership card from the International Dull Men's Club.

"A little gag gift from my wife," he explained to the clerk. "She claims I'm as exciting as a hubcap."

Does anyone really want to be identified with that?

"That's funny, sir," the clerk said, "but I still need to see a photo I.D."

He kept poking around in his wallet and finally turned around so the clerk could read "Leroy" tooled in leather on the back of his belt.

"I still need something with a photo," she said.

Leroy thumbed his wallet some more and pulled out his tattered frequent pizza-eater card with six punches. The poor guy shuffled a full deck of credit cards, library card, movie-rental card, business cards, supermarket discount card, AAA card, bookstore discount card, Lions Club membership card. He got so frustrated he ended up paying with cash.

I'm not sure I'd wish my mother's identity on anyone, either. Her bundle of rubberbanded identification cards weighs a pound.

Identity theft definitely has its drawbacks for the criminal, I told Winnie.

She continued to bemoan her driver's license photo, wondering if she could request a reshoot or some photo editing. She compared it to mine, only a shade less scary. In fact, they were similar - same hairstyle, same build, same eye color.

"Hey, wait a minute," I said and snatched back my I.D.

You can't trust your life with anybody these days.

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