There’s a story behind the plate

By Gary Richards —

“You’re so vain…” The voice of Carly Simon in my head.  “Give me a break,” I shot back.  “I don’t post pictures of my breakfast on Facebook and the only tweeting around our house comes from the birds in our yard.”  Yet, there I was, standing in line at the DMV ordering one of those plates with messages only Navajo Code Talkers can read.

“You’re so vain…”, the Greek chorus chanted in my head.  Figures, the Greeks had this thing with self-absorption.  Think Narcissus.  You know — the guy who dies standing by a pool — in love with his own reflection.  But, tough beans; I wasn’t going to let some 60’s folk diva or a bunch of guys in togas stop me.  So, I plunked down my sixty bucks and ordered our “vanity” plate (I know I’m not alone).

No surprise these plates are proliferating; we live in a selfie stick world.  Some are pretentious — the smirking young guy sitting at a traffic light in a new Beemer with a plate reading DOW 2000.  That had to be one of the first salvos in the plate war.  With the market topping $23K, no need to think about how long ago that was. Now, years later, vanity plates seem to be sprouting like dandelions in our lawn.   

Here’s a favorite sampling from the internet: 

Have zombies in the family?  Consider this one below…

Got that VW Beetle thing going? EWWABUG
Putting around in a Bugatti Chiron?  LOWMPG 
How about RUBIX on a Nissan Cube?
Perhaps GANDALF for drivers who don’t let people pass?
The perfect plate for hermits and misanthropes: IH8UALL
Is there an Infinity in your driveway? NBEYOND

GOT2PEE — Hey five hours without stopping is a long time in a car.
EXCUZEME — Seems like the perfect plate for bad but polite drivers.
And finally, UARNEXT… on a hearse.  I’m not amused.

So, back to DMV and the plate that set us back a half-dozen ten spots.  Here it is; kinda cryptic.  Not really all that funny; it wasn’t meant to be.  New York no longer calls these vanity plates;  they’re “personalized license plates”. That’s OK with me; it’s not just calling a pig by a different name (I happen to like pigs, by the way).  It’s just that some people really do have a story to tell.  We do… so I will share ours.

My mom knew I loved Porsches.  I guess my head swiveling every time one passed while I was driving her to wherever gave it away.  Mom was a very giving person.  She would have loved to put a Porsche in our driveway; but, she hung by a very thin financial thread.  Even so, she always found a few bucks each week to play her lottery numbers.

 “If I win, I’ll buy you a Porsche,” she said.  She never won and she never saw the Porsche my wife and I are fortunate enough to be driving.  If she saw me drive up in it, I know there’d be a smile on her face.  So, no vanity in our plate.  Just a thank you to (and a memory of) my mom.  You see, those are her initials… VER…. and that’s her birthday… 10-30.


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