Ah, vanity plates. Almost invariably, by the time you're old enough to get one, you no longer have the desire to announce to everyone behind you that you're 1H0T1 or MISSTHANG. I myself had always intended to get one, till I realized that if I were to commit some kind of crime, it would be easy for eyewitnesses to identify my vehicle.
Not that I'm planning any drive-by snowballings or bank robberies, but it did seem prudent to avoid being super obvious.
Anyway, a guy in Washington, D.C., where weirdly huge and stupid fines are de rigeur, did not get the memo. In addition, he chose a vanity plate that ended up costing him much more than the $50 the DMV requires. Like tens of thousands of dollars more. How?
It's like this: Twenty-five years ago, Danny White had the funny idea to get license plates that read "No Tags." See, it's funny because he has tags that said he had no tags. Like when PIL called their album "album" or when Magritte made that painting of a pipe that said "this is not a pipe" underneath.
It's either incredibly surreal or unbelievably corny. Take your pick.
Another thing that it is: Expensive. The way ticket-writing in D.C. works is that if the car doesn't have a license plate, the traffic officer writes "No Tags." So each and every month, Danny receives all the tickets written on abandoned cars -- stacks and stacks of them, reams of them, tens of thousands of dollars' worth. And each and every month, he goes down to the DMV, shows proof that his car is not the type listed on each ticket, and gets them voided out.
Except that he does have a Chevrolet. So any tickets written on abandoned Chevrolets can't be dismissed.
He contacted a local TV station, which straightened things out by getting the DMV to change its protocol -- now, tickets written on abandoned cars use a part of the car's VIN number, which is probably a better system anyway.
Which left me wondering: What would be an even more ill-conceived vanity license plate?
Well, if I had one that read $5KFINE, I'd probably owe five grand every time I got a ticket, regardless of the infraction.
I suppose TICKETME or PULMEOVR would probably have an undesired effect.
DRUNK and SPEEDNG would definitely be a bad idea. So would STOLEN.
The rest of my ideas are decidedly un-PC, so I'm going to leave it at that.
By the way, when asked why he does not just change his license plate, White revealed himself to be both a jokester and unbelieeeeevably stubborn. He paid for them, he should get to use them, he says. It's the principal of the thing.
What would you want on your personalized plates, if you had to get some -- or if you do have them, what do they say?
Image via NBCWashgton.com