Friday, March 03, 2006

Appropriate to the Medium

One mental exercise that I sometimes do is try to make meaningful patterns out of randomly-assigned license plates. Things like 368-ATX become three hundred and sixty-eight attacks! So when I see a custom plate, my brain jumps into gear and trys to interpret it as quickly as possible. Usually this is not an especially difficult task. Plates like SPEEDFRK, PLANTLVR, OUTATIME and NO PLATE all have fairly obvious meanings. But as I was driving through an undisclosed part of Seattle yesterday evening, I noticed a station wagon with a custom license plate that was not so forthcoming. It read:
L80CHWK
The process that my brain went through before I finally figured out its meaning (I think), was something like this:
8... Eight. L8... Ell-eight... "Late!" Like when people type C U L8R! Got it. Okay, zero CHWK... Um, "late zero chalk?" "Late oh-cee hawk?" "Late zero chicken-hawk?" Hmm, none of those seem very likely. Maybe the 80 is together. "Eighty." L80... Ell-eighty... "Lady!" Ah hah, okay that seems even more likely. Lady what? "Lady chicken-hawk?" "Lady chore work?" "Lady chew-kay?" Hmm. "Lady see aych double-you kay." "Lady see aych work." "Lady see hawk." "Lady Seahawk!"
Granted, that whole thought process only took like thirty seconds, but I think the point of custom plates is to get across one's custom message about twenty-nine seconds quicker. It's like having a sticker on your car that reads "I'm insecure in my beliefs so I assert them through witty bumper stickers." It's just not really appropriate to the medium, you know?
Categories: Culture

5 Comments:

Blogger LotharBot said...

I once saw the plate

UGABDOG

I was like "you gab dog"? Is that like, "homie you talk too much G"?

Once I noticed all of the Georgia sports logos on the car I realized it was short for University of GeorgiA BullDOG. The plate, in isolation, was confusing, but the rest of the decorations provided adequate context.

7:09 PM, March 03, 2006  
Blogger Skor Grimm said...

For the record, as far as I could tell this car was not adorned with any sports paraphernalia of any kind aside from the license plate.

10:46 PM, March 03, 2006  
Blogger Father Cory said...

And then people wonder why the stupidity rate is so high.

6:33 AM, March 04, 2006  
Blogger DaButtminster said...

Custom license plate holders can be just as daunting. I saw one the other day that alleged:

2.718281828459 to the 3.14159265359i + 1 = 0

I pondered this for hours and slowly went insane.

10:32 AM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger LotharBot said...

e^pi*i + 1 does in fact equal 0. That's part of the reason most mathematicians eventually go insane. You can take such wacky concepts as e, i, and pi and smash them together and get a nice normal number like -1? Cray-zee!

10:42 AM, March 06, 2006  

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