Has anyone ever taken a great drivers' license photo?
One man has: Daniel Mundschau, who became one of the first Redditors to have a post go viral in 2014— all because he deliberately set out to take a horrible one.
In 2011, while living in Valparaiso, Ind., Mundschau, now 37, got the idea to spoof the typically creepy/awkward/ugly photos we all sport on government documents and asked his Facebook friends for ideas.
One idea the Gen Xers quickly settled on: Aping the somewhat goofy sideburns of 1990s-era
And since one rule the group came up with for the project was to keep his weird look strictly legal, Mundschau grew out his own facial hair rather than wear a wig to look the part. That took him a month.
"I had some police officer friends that I ran it by," Mundschau said.
"We didn't want to break the law," he said. The Facebook group also came up with the idea for his maniacally staring eyes. "It adds a creepy level" to the look.
Shave a little male-pattern baldness into his look, thin out the beard, pull the head back to create a double chin, and voila!
"It was like Christmas when it came in the mail," Mundschau wrote on a Imgur post a few weeks agochronicling the story behind the license photo. The post promptly zoomed to the front page of Reddit.
Once Mundschau received his official Indiana drivers license with the crazy-great photo, the fun really started, he said. Police officers pulled over Mundschau twice, but his photo never really was a problem.
The first cop "didn't bat an eye," though he said the other officer did need to give him a second look.
On the other hand, "if I got carded, the license would get passed around," Mundschau said, which earned him a certain amount of celebrity.
"At Applebee's, the manager would see me having drinks and send a server to card me and see their reactions," he said.
The only real problem Mundschau said the license photo caused him was at Walgreen's. There, the clerk would refuse to sell him a six pack of beer because his license looked like a fake ID.
Mundschau moved to the
The photo recognition software the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles uses set off an alarm because the picture he took for that state's license didn't match the image on file in Indiana, Mundschau said. A supervisor made Mundschau come to the Division of Motor Vehicles office and recreate the face on the license.
He said he held his hand on top of his head and threw his head back to verify the look.
Usually, the state will confiscate an old license after approving the new one. But Mundschau's in-person performance entertained the office so much that the Wisconsin officials let him keep his masterpiece.
"They clapped and said, 'Well done,'" Mundschau said.
Mundschau, now the owner of Solid Structure Masonry and Chimney Repair in Racine, Wis., also has a YouTube channel, called JacksAdvice, devoted to relationship advice from the view of a narcissist.
But he knows his dramatically awful drivers license photo will follow him forever.
"If I ever do commit a crime, there's one disguise I can't use," he said.