Saturday, July 2, 2011


Vanity plates are for the other drivers on the road to enjoy. My husband and I have passed many two-minute segments of our travels trying to decipher encrypted plates. When the plates are not particularly creative, I take offense. I had two basic rules and yesterday added a third for creating a successful vanity plate.

1.       Don’t put the type of car – chances are pretty good that the make, model and yes, the color, are pretty clear without you needing to spend extra money to highlight “BMW Z3” or “Lexus” or “Ford” or “BlueVan.” Don’t insult me.

2.       Don’t put your name. I have less of a reason for including this on my list, but it’s annoying. You know who you are. I’m not going to be more inclined to meet you just because you’ve identified the car as yours, and unless you find your car by reading all the license plates in the parking deck, it ultimately serves no purpose. Plates that read “LisasRyd” or “MomsCar” or anything of that sort, are boring and uninformative.

3.       And I’m adding, akin to the number 1, don’t pay extra money to put something on your vanity plate that is obvious otherwise on your car. Yesterday I passed a car bespeckeled in bumper stickers. License plate: STCKRS. Really? I hadn’t noticed.

Perhaps these guidelines are selfish. I enjoy those 2-minute conversations with whoever is in the car with me. If you have something easy or obvious, it is a wasted vanity plate (and, I contend, wasted money on your part). I don’t currently have a vanity plate, but I’ve had two. I will admit they’re not the most creative I’ve ever seen, but they at least reflect some thought and I’ve had the privilege of looking in my rearview mirror and watching people try to figure them out. Many years ago I sported VB Atak (which many people mistook for Virginia Beach and actually meant volleyball and Atak as a term for the sport.) The other license plate was a pitiful translation of “Darn good” in French and German – Zut Gut. This one was fun. The French/German pronunciation is closer to Zoot Goot, but anyone trying to figure it out invariably went for the English pronunciation:  “What’s a zuht guht?”

 Just a little creativity people. It makes road trips so much more entertaining for others. And what really is the point of a vanity plate otherwise?

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