Friday, December 01, 2006

Vanity Plates

I love vanity plates. I like the idea of personalizing something so impersonal as a car to reflect your style. It also makes long trips a little more fun trying to decipher some of the more complex license plates.

Back in high school I bought Mr. Intellectual vanity plates for his first car as a birthday present. It was a little hard to pick something like that for someone else since he had no concrete ideas of what he wanted as a vanity plate and I couldn’t straight out ask without giving away my gift idea. I eventually hit upon Catch 22, which was his favourite novel at the time, and still holds a special place in his heart as far as I know. It was a great surprise and I was actually impressed that it was still available for order and no one had snatched it up ages ago since it’s such a ubiquitous saying in society now. I still love that plate, and if given the chance would take it for my car in a heartbeat.

Catch 22 survived two cars in Mr. Intellectual’s life, however at last check it has been removed from the road. He got a new car a little over a year ago and the plates stayed with his last car, which his Dad drove around for a while. They have since been removed and are sitting in his room at home. For whatever reason’s he has chosen not to use them anymore. It's one of my favourite gifts that I ever gave him and it makes me a little sad to see them put away.

That being said, I was never able to come up with a vanity plate of my own that I was truly happy with as a personal reflection of my style. It wasn’t a pressing issue since I never had my own car and as such was an irrelevant concern, but it was fun to think about. I wanted a plate that reflects my passion for history, my love of education and my playful side. The idea of having “DR HISTRY” was one choice but seems a little pretentious and what happens if I don’t end up finishing my doctorate? My other plate idea was “19141918” for the years of WWI, 1914-1918, since that’s going to be my area of expertise once I’m done my education. Both are currently available as of this morning when I checked the MTO website, but I’m still unsure of having them permanently on my car.

As much as I like “DR HISTRY” I think I’ll leave it alone until I finish the doctorate and then re-evaluate my feelings on its level of pretentiousness. I think in the meantime I have hit upon a choice that I can be happy with indefinitely since it’s properly ambiguous. Recently I’ve been thinking of the Latin term “ex libris” quite a bit, which roughly translates into “from books.”

The only unfortunate part of this plate is that someone already has it, which isn’t surprising. If I want the plate I have to go for “EX LBRIS.” It’s tempting to grab it right now before it’s gone, however eventually Ontario will have to go to 9 character license plates, and when it does I can get the full ex libris since the space counts as one character.

The other thing holding me back is the price tag. At $239.35 it isn’t exactly cheap, but I do remember spending $500 on Mr. Intellectual’s plate since 8 character licenses had just come out and everyone was running to grab the vanity plates they had coveted but couldn’t quite get with only 6-7 characters. I was in high school and my overhead was almost non-existent which is far from the case these days so I’ll just have to shelve this idea until I start making more of a living wage.


Shawn Honnick said...

I say go for it... but I may be just a little biased!

Andrei said...

Hi Jane, please email me a photo of your plate when you have it.

Outstanding Licence Plates at