You’re so vain; you probably think this blog is about you. You’re so vain; I’ll bet you think this blog is about you. Don’t you? Don’t you?
Well it is if you are one of the millions...AND MILLIONS of Americans that have shelled out your hard earned cash for a customized license plate.
Personalized plates, vanity plates, prestige plates, specialty plates, I DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOUR PLATE IS! The only thing that matters is that this trend has grown into an epidemic. A 2007 survey showed that 9.7 million Americans paid extra for their very own “special” plate. I’d wager that number is much higher now because I can’t drive to or from work without spotting 4 or 5 of these bad boys every day.
I’m certain the Motor Vehicle Division appreciates your contribution too. Here in Arizona its $25 for the initial fee and $25 annually to maintain your vanity (if you get a sports team or college plate $17 of those dollars does go to charity so that’s something). Far be it from me to tell you how to spend your money, if it’s important to you to have REALTOR on your PT cruiser so that everybody knows you sell homes then so be it. If you’ve got to tell the world that you are a HOTGRL driving around in your convertible Mazda Miata, fine.
Personally I think everyone who applies for a vanity plate should be issued the same plate because most times I’m thinking the same thing when I read them, but that would be problematic trying to distinguish one from the next.
Don’t get me wrong some are necessary like NOT OJ on your white Ford Bronco. Some are clever like ICU2COP and some are funny like LUV2FRT or IFLNGPU (fart and poo are always funny). Still others are redundant like BUG on a VW Beetle or MNICUPR on a Mini Cooper; we see what you are driving we don’t need to read about it. Then there are those that are just flat out annoying like COOL GUY (unless you’re being ironic) or LAKERS (because everybody knows Laker fans are obnoxious).
I’m not totally against the personalized plate but I’d like to set forth some guidelines that might help everyone involved.
First, BE ORIGINAL. If you can’t get FXYLDY please do not settle for FXYLDY3. If CATLVR is already taken do not reach for CATSLVR or worse CATZLVR. And if some cool guy beats you to COOL GUY do not, I repeat DO NOT, talk yourself into KOOL GUY.
True story: A guy I work with had the license plate E8. When asked what the significance of E8 was he explained that originally he wanted E, being that his name was Eric. That was taken so he decided E1 would be just as good, nope that was gone too; as was E2-E7. That’s right, eight other bozos had the same idea and still he thought that E8 was worthy of $50 out of his pocket for a “personalized” plate. Come on!
Second, BE CREATIVE (and/or funny). Now there’s nothing wrong with something simple like BACON or SUNSHINE (especially if either of those is a nickname or an obsession) but you are mounting this on the back of your car for others to see so why not put some thought into it. Something like GIVETHX, or BACKOFF, or something uplifting like U R NXT on the back of a hearse. If it’s got to be about you make it something interesting like D-WIFED or ATHEIST; you know something that tells us a little about yourself besides that fact that you are extremely self absorbed (the specialty plate already tells us that).
Finally, BE CLEAR. I can’t tell you how many plates I see where I have no idea what they mean. Through years of self affirmation I’ve convinced myself that I’m of above average intelligence and like to think I can figure out even a coded message on a vanity plate but some of you use it as a mobile billboard for inside jokes or acronyms that only you and your significant other understand. Why? These plague me for the rest of the day, sometimes I even Google them to no avail. It’s maddening. Please, I beg you, don’t go too far in your attempt to be original and creative and sacrifice clarity. Missing on No. 3 can cancel out No. 1 and No. 2.
Well that’s it. If a random government issued set of numbers and letters just doesn’t do it for you, if the urge to tell the world that IM CUTE or that you are 2WICKED or a LTL CRZY is just too great then I guess there’s no stopping you. Just keep in mind the poor souls behind you laboring to get to work or struggling to return home and B GENTL.