The human mind is capable of tremendous achievements when under pressure. “I’ve watched everything on my TiVO box, I’ve sent back all of my Netflix DVDs, there are no unheard podcasts in iTunes, and both Mail and Google Reader tell me that I’ve read everything there is to read,” I realize. “Unless I come up with something and fast, I’ll have to settle down and do some actual work!”
And that’s when the team digs deep and locates the searchable state database of vanity license plate availability. That’ll distract me until dinnertime at least.
I’ve always wanted “OBI WAN.” Is it available?
“May be available!” Cool. Hey, let’s open a new document here and keep track of the good ones that are available.
ZHADUM, BAB FIV, STR WRS, MFALCN, NT LPUS, DNT PNC, HHGTTG, APL TWO. MAC GUY, HCAUL, AAPL, NO SIX, ZAPHOD, X PARRT – Yes;
LRD VDR, MCNTSH, YODA, NI – No.
X WING, no; Y WING, yes.
JEEVES, no; PSMITH, yes.
IPHONE, yes; IPOD, no.
MOOF, no; RES EDT, yes.
SPOCK, no; KIRK, yes.
Holy ****! “JEDI” might be available? Seriously?!?
Well, well, well. Well.
I’ve played this game time and time again over the years and I’ve always come within just a keystroke or two of ordering a way (way WAY) cool vanity plate like that. “JEDI,” for God’s sake! What are the chances that this plate will remain unclaimed?!? Can we expect the populace to slumber indefinitely?!?
But my hand has always been stayed by a simple realization. It’d be an awesome thing to put on my car, but it’d soon become just a license plate. And every time I’d get that renewal in the mail and be hit with yet another $80 fee to keep it, the “it’s just a license plate” aspect would become more and more prominent.
The other disadvantage of having such a cool vanity plate is that it makes your car nightmarishly easy to identify. There are reasons why I managed to get away with stealing that life-sized fiberglass Mayor McCheese from the playland. Having an ordinary, hard-to-remember license plate on the getaway vehicle certainly was one of them.
So I’m willing to let JEDI and all of those other cool plates go. I’ve never come across a plate that was so superhypermegaginchy that I had, simply had, to own it.
But that’s changed. A certain specific plate became available to me recently and buying it was a complete no-brainer. It’s not movie, TV, Sci-Fi, or comic-book related. It’s just a single letter followed by three numbers, and it has absolutely no significance to anyone outside of my immediate family. It’s a family heirloom: it was originally issued to my grandfather some fifty years ago and it’s been passed along to family members ever since.
Thus, immensely cooler than BABFIVE or ARTOO or even (dare I say!) JEDI.
So now I’ve filed the paperwork and my new plate should turn up in a couple of weeks, after some helpful burglar or meth dealer stamps it out for me and collects his seven cents from the state.
We Humans are a weird species. When my grandfather got this plate, it was a randomly-assigned letter followed by three randomly-assigned digits. It never had any greater sense of meaning or logic than that. In its current form, it’s a baffed-up plate that’s been on my Mom’s car for just five or so years. The object has no physical connection to its original owner whatsoever.
But somehow, when you stamp those five symbols on a piece of metal and then screw it onto a car, it becomes something less than priceless but certainly worth more than $80.