Monday, April 24, 2006

Vanity, thy name is license plate

ok people, anybody have any insights into the minds of people who thrill to the idea of having vanity license plates on their cars?

to me, the concept of a vanity plate has its own tinge of egotism right out of the gate, trying to make some personal declaration in seven letters or less to make your mass-produced car 'unique'. seems the people who are as drawn to this medium of expression as moths are to the flame are generally (or at least appear to be, as far as i can tell from their stamped-metal communique) elitist snobs or "wooo! PARTY "a-holes or some combination of the two.

you've all seen 'em: license plates like RICH DR on a Mercedes, 2FAST4U on a Mustang or 58 MPG on a Prius hybrid, something that says, "generic traffic audience, i feel that my status/condition is in this specific way superior to yours...i am trumpeting my awesomeness to the world!".

the notion was recently brought to mind by the presence of two separate vanity plates in my apartment complex this past weekend.

Vanity Plate the First: "BAK OFF" , as seen on a black(?) Porsche Boxster.

now you'd expect the driver of a small, sporty car to center his license phrase more around the near-mythical levels of speed and handling that his car grants him but this particular owner strangely decided to go with an "i'm a badass" theme you'd normally see on a 4x4 pickup jacked up on huge tires. i don't want to imply that this combination of car and plate points to one or more personal insecurities but... hmm, i don't know how to end that thought.

another element worthy of mention here is that the driver obviously wanted to brand his driving experience with this phrase so badly that he was not deterred when he found that the correct spelling variant "BACK OFF" was already taken.

Vanity Plate the Second: "NOWUSE", as seen on a blue Toyota Supra (with big spoiler and exhaust pipe? you bet!)

i assume that the message here is intended to be "No Wussy" (unless we're actually being encouraged to 'now use' some unspecified product); what is unclear is whether the driver is stating that he himself is not a wussy or that wussies (wusses?) should refrain from challenging him and his ride in any racing competitions, the outcome of which would surely result in their embarrassing defeat (and further sprial into greater depths of wussydom).

i, of course, could very well be wrong about these particular drivers (and maybe the others as well); they could be great people, caring parents, conscientious community members. still, i can't say i'd ever envision Mother Theresa having driven around from one charitable mission to the next sporting a "2HOLY4U" plate.


Steven G. Harms said...

Dear Bobcat,

What if one gets a license plate that asserts a theme versus a status of the driver, would this escape your whip-like scorn?


In this he invites you to imagine a parellelogram with 4 sides.

Or what if he wants to support the home team: GOHORNS

In this I find no vainglorious assertion, merely communicating a smile to another driver.

The Social Bobcat said...

certainly such examples would fall outside the scope of my ire; such as you listed merely express a thought or random image and are not intended to be your seven-letter personal mission statement.