June 16, 2006 - Gold Plate Ed
Custom plates are yet another way to establish one’s personal identity. And, while everyone can order a double decaf low-fat latte with a shot of caramel, and everyone can buy the same pair of Donald Pliner shoes, no two people in the same state can have the same custom license plate. It follows closely that no two communities can have the same mixtures of plates.
Ed, in his never ending quest to find objective variables that define and distinguish groups and communities, thought that custom license plates were worth a look.
From our previous experiments with bumper stickers and colorful clothing, we learned to make our contest a guess of the particulars of custom plates themselves, and not their propensity. In the world of cars, custom plates are more rare than hybrids.
So, for our contest we decided to look for plates that had an SB in them representing the city where we live. We knew that we’d seen some SBs. And, it’s a sure bet that anyone who bothers to pay extra money at the DMV to put those letters on their plate, parks their self-image in the same lot as their hometown.
Yesterday, the dedicated staff of edhat.com went on a squeegy hunt for custom plates. We drove through parking lots and city streets with the goal of taking fifty pictures of fifty plates. When we found a plate, we’d roll down the window,
point the camera out of the car, take the picture, and drive off. We left no trail. In fact, the only way someone would know whether we took a picture of their plate is if they can find it in the flashy gallery of random plates we set up on the Edhat website. Did we get you?
In the great fifty plates we found three SB plates. They were SB JAG (yes, it was on a Jaguar), SBDRMR (drummer or dreamer we don’t know), and SB PS (which stood for Santa Barbara Pet Service – it said so on the van). There was also a plate that said GOLETA, Santa Barbara by Edhat standards, but not a tally in the contest. There was also a location plate for DUBLYN (Ireland, probably) and GRANADA (maybe it was just the building).
To be honest, we couldn’t make heads or tails out of most of the plates. We found four plates that used the heart symbol to show affection for others –
CAC loves RLB, one car owner loves their DESL, and another loves d’ Beach. One plate used the heart instead of the O in Froggie. We also found one plate with a hand symbol making the total number of symbols, five.
Identity and sentiment seem to last. We found four old blue California plates in our survey. One plate showed support of the Equal Rights Amendment. We hear a lot about other groups lobbying for equal rights these days. It’s funny that women never got them, and that no one even talks much about their not having them anymore.
In yesterday’s contest there were 5SUBS who picked 3SBS and 5IMG. Those subscribers are InnOutBuff, Goodstix, Wag, Art1939, and Sage. The EDHATK9 was called in to BRKTEYE. We played a game of sudden death round robin with her. We threw popcorn one piece at time, and each time she didn’t catch it, one contestant was eliminated. The Dog was catching well last night. The game went on for a long time. Finally, Sage was the last contestant standing. Sage wins an Edhat t-shirt.
Flashy gallery of random plates
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