Lying on your driver license and tales of crafy men (and craftier women)

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life67 Comments

I'd like to tell you a story about two very distinct and separate things.

First, it's a story of how men get crafty.

Second, it's a story of how women get even craftier.

Digging in the closet the other day, Dan unearthed this framed gem from our office's pre-IKEA glory days:


See, we are savers of certain things. One of those things happens to be every single driver license we've ever been issued.

Several years ago, Dan gathered them all up, tore out a Plymouth Belvedere ad from an old Life magazine, and created the master work you see here.

It quietly adorned the wall of our then-shared office for a number of years until IKEA came to town and Mama said, "Let there be light colored veneer!"

Somehow, this little number didn't make the final cut for office acoutrements.

And now, I feel badly about it because you know what? It's pretty dang cool.

Let's take a closer look (and no worries for anyone who wants our address and numbers; the new Minnesota licenses sport a new design AND new numbers.)

We start with the oldies. My Washington state license, from high school:


What you're not seeing is a rust-colored new wave tail jutting out from the base of my skull. I think even the DMV photographers knew: "One day, people will laugh at tails. Let's crop in a bit."

Now let's look at Dan's earliest license:


So young. So sporty. And so dang skinny! 140 pounds, ladies. Aw yeah. Never met a skinny boy I didn't like. Moving on.


Enter my Texas era. By the lack of skin pigment, one could easily mistake this for an Antarctica license, but I assure you I was a legal resident of the greater DFW Metroplex. Wearing a Ramones t-shirt given to me by a horrible then-boyfriend, both my eyebrows and lips were clearly on overdrive.


Moving right along. This was Dan before we met. The only noticeable change? Better hair and 20 more pounds.


Ahhhh. There it is. My first Minnesota driver license. I look a tad cocky with my head slightly askew, as if to say, "I'm not afraid of your winters OR your long vowels!"


More Dan. A bit more serious and with taller bangs, and of course, the unmistakable air of being desperately in love with me.


And more me. Wow, Cath.โ€ฆwhy so glum? Dan refers to this look as my Mark Rypien era. I think I was still adjusting to having a last name no one would ever pronounce correctly on the first and often second attempts.


And last but not least, we return to a much more mature, happy and devastatingly handsome Dan.

And that is all I have to share, lest you should see my current license, which is actually coming up for renewal next month, just prior to my 44th birthday. (March 8, for anyone who needs a little extra time to plan something special for me.)

Just wanted to share how some menโ€”men like Danโ€”get crafty. They save and preserve driver licenses from glory driving days since past for all to admire and enjoy.

The way women get even craftier? The weight on our licenses reads "125."


Cathy ZielskeLying on your driver license and tales of crafy men (and craftier women)

67 Comments on “Lying on your driver license and tales of crafy men (and craftier women)”

  1. #1

    great post! I have every year’s school bus passes which is kind of interesting as you see me change a lot, but when it gets to the year where I’m 175lb it stops being interesting and starts being depressing. Luckily a year later I was right back down to a normal weight.

    I think its strange that people look older in old photos. That last license you had up of you makes you look really, really much older than you look in your current pictures! (sorry!) Found some snaps of my Grandad in his 30s and he looked older than when he died at 85! I swear its the camera flash!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cute post and it’s given me some food for thought about those bus passes!

  2. #2

    The real question is Cathy, why are you awake at this hour? ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the hair and the post.

  3. #3
    Jennifer Larson

    The second I saw the words “Crafty women” with regards to driver’s licenses, I knew what you were referring to. Mines is probably 30 pounds off where I am now, but like you, it’s where I’ll be. Good luck, and thanks as always for the laugh!

  4. #4

    HAHA! I still have all of mine, except my Michigan one, because Massachusetts actually takes old licenses away from you and discards them. I wonder who the sucker was that had to make those MN licenses with the raised letters. I wasn’t old enough, when I lived in MN to have a DL with raised letters, man that would have been dandy though!

  5. #5

    Awwww yeah! He was a scrapbooker! Who knew? This is actually a cool idea. In Illinois, they do this odd thing… they cut out your photo and give it back to you, but they do not let you keep the rest of the license. Lately, they haven’t even been taking new pics… they just give you a sticker that says it was renewed. Highly disappointing, as my ten-year-old ‘do is wearing thin on me.

    Anyway, love the post! Thanks for sharing that. I have an altered Polaroid Scott did in college… you may have inspired me to post. At that time, I remember going, “YOU DREW ON A PICTURE!” I’ve come a long way.

  6. #8

    LOL… mine says 125 or did for the longest time but I think I fessed up last renewal… added “many pounds because frankly when you reach a certain milestone it gives you many rights. Happy early BD, Cathy! No doubt, I will forget despite a reminder or two – so well wishes a a HUGE shout out to you now. Enjoy your day!

  7. #10
    Stephanie Howell

    oh my gosh i LOVE this. LOVELOVELOVE.
    is that weird? (just kidding :0)
    what IS weird is that we both have the same weight immortalized on our licenses forever.
    later i shall tell you of my military ID i currently have (let’s just say it’s the worst photo EVER and i look like a granny with a fat neck).
    have a beauteous day! xoxo

  8. #12
    Kiki Craig

    HA! We’ve kept all of ours too, I even have all our UMD college ids! Gotta love them. And, wow, what happened to the quality of the MN license over the years….we used to be able to use them as ice scrapers in a pinch.

  9. #13

    ok…so now after all these years of admiring your work, reading your books (over & over again) and viewing your blog…I take a good look at your name & realize I have most likely been one of those people butchering your name by pronouncing it Zi-les-ski. So how do you pronounce it???

  10. #14
    Cynthia Friese-Hassanein

    Oh the old MN licenses:) they were so much better for scraping ice off your windshield:) then the new ones:) Love the project and the old ad. Too cool.
    The weight on licenses is a fun little challenge. Each time I need to renew, I creep it the weight down to a ridiculous low. I love seeing what I can get by with. They never flinch with how crazy the number is:)

  11. #15

    We have to give old licenses back in the UK, but I have all my old passports !! FRIGHTENING my first one was issued when I was 16 nearly 30 years ago, ouch !

    Why oh why do you need your weight on your driving license ?

  12. #17

    If ever anyone doubts that you and Dan are well matched, well there’s your proof.

    If ever questioned about the weight, just say …I had a big dinner last night.

  13. #20
    lynne moore

    ahhh, got to get my new liscense in March too. Been waiting “one more week” for a few now. Just found out if i wait one more week for real, I get the fully-loaded, brand-new, ugly-as-sin, gov’t approved liscense. Gonna get my hair cut for the occasion.

  14. #22

    We have to give back our passports and licenses here in Alberta. (not that my passport has expired yet). They’ve never asked me if my weight has changed. Yeah!

  15. #23
    Beth Ann

    As soon as I saw “Lying on your driver’s license” I KNEW what you were gonna say. Mine is currently a tad (ha ha) bit off too and is up for renewal in August. I am proud to say I am 12.6 pounds closer to it than I was 6 weeks ago. Here’s to bringing back the truth and not having to tell the person at the DMV that they will need to up your weight. At least they have the decency to never specifically ask if it’s correct!

  16. #24

    Great post! My license is up for renewal next month, too (March 16!) and we’re not allowed to keep our old license here. I don’t want to part with it – the photo is the best picture of me, ever. Sad but true.

  17. #25
    Donna Tullis

    you just make me laugh…since the first time i saw a layout of yours in some magazine i was reading a LONG time ago…of course i had to squint and twist for the best light to make out the jounaling, but after reading it and snickering at your rascally self, i was hooked…that is the coolist thing and even better that yall have kept it…definitely a keeper!

  18. #26

    I LOVE this post (and the photos) Cathy! The earlier pictures – it’s like looking at Aidan and Cole today! And I too am quite the craftiest when it comes to my weight – mine was due for renewal last month and still haven’t gotten into to DMV yet for that dreaded new pic which will definitely, once again, not match the weight! Thanks for sharing!

  19. #27
    Marcie L

    That is awesome!!!!! Would love to have my hands on my old license’s…and my husband’s. I vote it goes back up in the office!

  20. #28
    Joy M.

    LOL, this may be creative, not crafty, but when DH and I were dating, I went with him to fill out the application to have his passport renewed. When he wrote “sandy” down for his hair color, I about choked. “Sandy?” I asked. So he asked,”What color would YOU call it?” “Um, gray. Maybe salt and pepper but that’s probably not an option.” So I guess we all fall prey to being creative when it comes to vanity. I wish I had kept all of my licenses…..

  21. #30

    Love it! My first driver’s license said “105 lbs.” When I renewed it on my 21st b-day the guy at the DMV asked whether any of my info had changed and I said “Just the weight. It’s more like 130.” When he handed over my new license it read “129.”
    I should have married that man.
    Now my license says “150” and still is at least 10 lbs. wrong! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. #31

    Two things….3/8 is my son’s birthday…a good day! And two, when asked at the license bureau if everything is correct, I reply “Yes,” because I still WANT to weigh that amount.

  23. #32

    Lets hope they don’t give tickets for fibbing about your weight on your dl! If so I would be getting a huge fine!

  24. #34
    amanda gibson

    Yay for Crafty Men!

    My driver’s license will also forever say 125 pounds. And blonde hair. And blue eyes. Occasionally I’m blonde – but I’ve never had blue eyes. I think maybe when I was in high school I really wished I were blonde haired and blue eyed (and big busted, but that’s another story for another day. Why can’t I say “blonde haired and blue eyed” without adding the big busted part on the end?). Anyway, since I’ve never moved out of state they just keep letting me be blue eyed. Go Idaho DMV!

  25. #38

    LOL – my husband thinks I am crazy – I have every license I’ve ever been issued too. . .perhaps a blog post about that tomorrow. . .when the light for photos is better. . .


  26. #39

    What a fabulous piece of history and so creative. I really wish I coul dhave saved my licenses and I really tried. But in Chicago if you turn in your old license you go directly to the head of the line when renewing. if you don’t, it’s sometimes up to a 3 hr wait, standing in line the whole time. So I’ve had to give up any I got when living in a city. Which is too bad bc I take some FINE license pictures!

  27. #42
    Kari D.

    I have all of my old licenses too! I thought it was really cool until I saw an episode of Clean House where some guy had held on to all of his and the host of the show told him he was holding on to worthless stuff and he threw them away! I suddenly thought I was weird for saving them. Then I realized that clearly Neecy Nash (or whoever the host of that show is) is NOT a scrapper and that she’s just plain weird for making this guy toss them! I’ve kept my licenses, but I don’t really watch Clean House anymore. (I really just don’t get that channel anymore, but now I’m standing by this story as the excuse.) BTW, my license has always said 135…close enough right? Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. #48

    Why are the corners cut off some of them? Or is that a design element? I frankly love the car ad in the background. Very cool.

  29. #49
    Marina, somewhere downunder

    You have to put your weight on your licence!! Boy am I glad I don’t live in the US!

  30. #51

    LOVED this post. And I am so happy to see that other people save seemingly silly bits of their past. And I must admit, that once I hit 40 I did add 5 extra pounds to my DL (which is still not even close…)

  31. #58
    kim strother

    Love this post. I just found all my old licenses and now I’m ging to make a page with them. With the weight blacked out of course…hehe!!

  32. #59

    Hi Cathy,

    I had to “weigh” in on this post (pun intended!) My license expires next Wednesday, 3/3, when I will turn 47. This is the first time I will have had to go into the DMV and get a new pic/license in 13 years! At the time of my current license 13 years ago I did indeed weigh 125. Since that time, and 3 children later, my weight has fluctuated as much as 65 pounds (!) over 125 (if you know what I mean). Now, 2 years after setting weight loss goals for myself, I weight about 132 pounds. As for my new license, it will continue to say 125, of course. . .allow me my fantasy, I say! Thanks for the great blog!


  33. #60
    Corie in Indy

    This post cracks me up! Love your blog, Cathy. And I LOVE that you save your licenses. That’s so something I would do (if the Indiana BMV didn’t confiscate our old licenses at renewal time. And yes, I’ve thought about lying and saying I lost it, but there’s a big fee for that). :o)

  34. #61

    So hilarious, yet so TRUE! Love this post. You have me cracking up over here at work in the wee hours of the night and I THANK YOU. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for the 125lbs thing… I tried to be honest a couple years ago and add a few pounds. The lady told me NO and kept it at 125! *lol* I’ll love her forever. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. #62
    Jana D

    Dan is so cool. You should move to VA. You’d get another license for your collection AND they don’t put your weight on it. Which is a really good thing.

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