This I Have Learned…

A License to Laugh!

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

Do you ever look at license plates while you are stopped in traffic or at a red light? Some of us do. For it seems that creativity, in the form of a unique admixture of letters and numbers on license plates, abounds on the highways and byways in our country. The smattering of “vanity plates” that one sees on the road these days have taken on a life of their own. But exactly when did license plates become necessary? Here are some factoids regarding the matter:

New York was the first state to require license plates, generally made of iron or leather, with the owner’s initials.

The first state-issued plate was in Massachusetts, with the number “1” on the license.

As cars began to crowd the roads, in 1918 all states issued license plates.

By 1920 owners of cars were required to purchase a new license plate each year.

But “vanity plates”? Interestingly, vanity plates go back to 1937; however, they really became popular in the 1950s and 1960s. So, with this in mind, here are some recently observed vanity license plates in and around our community:

4MEOWZ – Kitty car?

FOXMD – Okay, is it me, or is this truly a vanity plate?

CRDMKR – There is everything right about this license, as it shows one’s creativity!

CRSHNDO – My guess is that this license plate suggests a singer or a musician of some sort. What do you think?

NOMOVAN – Okay, so, after years of carting children to and from events, Mom is now a grandmother and loves her independence, because she now drives a sedan!

CHIEFZ – Perhaps a Kansas City Chiefs fan?

2THGIRL – No pulling teeth here. Definitely the driver of the car that displays this license plate is a dentist or a dental hygienist.

3HRF – I loosely interpret this license moniker as thrift. I caught sight of this license plate while I was driving onto SaddleBrooke Boulevard, off of Oracle Road. On the day, it so happened that there were several estate sales going on in SaddleBrooke.

UNDRBOS – This license plate suggests the unabashed feeling towards one’s profession. Truth be told. If one is a manager/director of any sort, he/she is an underboss!

NXTSTEP – A good guess might be someone who does ballroom, tap, or line dancing.

GOEAZY – Laid back, obviously this person knows how to relax!

But leave it to California to outshine any state regarding vanity plates:

GETNBSY – A pretty on-the-go person?

S8TAN – Not a person of faith, huh?

There were many other California vanity plates listed on the website, but the California DMV (or any other state DMV) will not issue licenses that have a racist, tawdry, or offensive message. And the vanity plates listed on the website are not at all printable here! But, for the record … ThSIHVLRND.