The other day I noticed a personalized license plate that announced REDBUG. It was—I know this may come as a surprise—on a bright red Volkswagen beetle. A couple of blocks later I pulled up at a stop sign behind a Toyota Land Cruiser. The name of the vehicle was laid out across its tailgate, as clear as could be. Still, just to remove all doubt, its license plate proudly announced CRUISER.
If you're going to go to all the trouble of getting a personalized license plate, why would you use it merely to tell us the make of your car? We can see that for ourselves. It's especially silly when the car is as instantly recognizable as a red bug or, say, a Hummer.
When people use them creatively, personalized license plates can make a point or simply be fun to figure out. Here in town we have a RDHTGMA, who either wants us to know she's still as hot as ever or who brags about her grandchildren when she wears her red hat to lunch. My former dentist announced himself as a 2THDR. A few years ago a local woman had to fight the DMV to get her license plate to read MPEACHW. I didn't necessarily agree with her political sentiments, but I certainly supported her right to state them.
WASHIS, of course, says it all. TOPLESS can be a bit startling until you realize that it applies not to the driver but the convertible it's attached to. One woman here has a plate reading CMENKD. It owner might be either a stripper or a massage therapist, depending on whether you assume the nakedness to be hers or her clients.
Some license plates I haven't seen yet: A busy soccer mom's mini-van could be EAT&RUN or DINNGRM. A successful tax lawyer's Mercedes might announce ILUVIRS. The driver of a tiny sub-compact, wary of driving at eye level with other vehicles' bumpers, might plead DNTHTME. An up-and-coming politician might be direct with SEND$. Someone who thinks a Hummer is the right vehicle for commuting to work might as well get straight to the point with GASHOG, $TOBURN, or $BUTNO¢. A teenager could just as well admit DVRTXTG. A lot of us could admit IOBANK or NOTPDFR. And, so other drivers wouldn't expect us to interrupt our conversations for minor details like turn signals and stop signs, we could warn IMONFON.
Snideness aside, I recently have developed a little more understanding for drivers who use their personalized license plates to brag about their cars. By the time my daughter's foot heals enough so I can get my Honda back (see my earlier post, Driving Miss Rosie), I'll be ready to tell the world that I LVMYCRV.