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:
L80CHWKThe 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?