Here’s the deal. For months, my friends and family have been pestering me to include vanity plate statistics on my blog. Every time I talk to my mom, she brings it up, “Don’t you want to get married some day? Women love DMV facts and figures. You can catch more flies with vehicular registration information than you can with tirades against minutia.” My aunt has, from the beginning, argued that my entire blog should be devoted to personalized license plate statistics. My cousins won’t speak to me until I tell them how many people in the U.S. have vanity plates. I can’t hold out any longer.
There are nearly 9.7 million personalized license plates in America (just under 4% of all drivers go with this option). The state with the least number of personalized plates? Texas. Only .5% of their drivers choose their own plates. Who has the most? Virginia, where 16.2% of drivers have vanity plates and 100% of my DMV-obsessed immediate family members live.
Well, I’m not. Because I can’t stand it when I see a personalized plate and I can’t figure out what the driver is trying to say. Due to the limited number of characters, we can’t always spell out our mobile messages. Specifically, last week I found myself cruising behind the following plate – ANIRTAP. True story. I spent many a minute trying to figure out what this said…and came up with nothing. Well, I came up with nothing that made sense. I came up, however, with quite a few options…
(1) Is this driver, simply, a woman named Annie R. Tapp?
(2) Is this driver a college professor lamenting the fact that he or she has to share their private bathroom with their teaching assistants? (A near TA pee)
(3) Is this driver an adhesive specialist, only willing to purchase products made in Romania or Russia? (Any R tape)
(4) Is this driver the creator of mobile device software that explains a method of wax removal with chamomile? (An ear tea app)
(5) Is this driver someone who received the highest grade in his class studying an art form that closely resembles percussive dancing? (A, Near Tap)
(6) Is this driver a woman who works in the shipping department at a frozen vegetable factory? (Annie, route a pea)
(7) Is this driver a high school student looking for a creative college-prep course? (Any arty AP)
(8) Is this driver a monkey who works on the hit TV show, Ice Road Truckers? (An IRT ape)
So, how am I going to do it? How will I figure out what ANIRTAP and all of the other cryptic vanity plates out there are trying to say? I’ve already given it my best effort. I just need to avoid exposure to these plates. I suppose I could drive with my eyes closed. But, call me old fashioned, that just sounds unsafe. I could move back to Texas, where I’d rarely run across a personalize plate. But then I’d have to live in Texas. (Just joking, I’m born and bred Texas-proud, baby. Longhorns, oil, J.R.Ewing, etc.) I suppose I’ll just have to stop driving. I guess, instead, I could make my family proud by staying inside, collecting and publishing DMV statistics. Sounds pretty boring. Maybe I’ll invite over the IRT ape.