I’m driving down the expressway feeling tired and crabby when I notice the license plate on the car in front of me. A vanity plate. It reads:
Perhaps the driver meant it as a grit-your-teeth-at-humanity message. I take it as license to call forth my inner pirate.
“Arrrrgh! Ahoy, matey! ‘Dar she BLOWS!”
Heads turn in the next car over. I feel better immediately.
Think of the possibilities of having a vanity plate that reads ARRRRGH.
The clerk at the rental car company: “Your license plate, Ma’am?”
“Do you speak English, Ma’am?”
The policeman at the scene of a robbery: “You say the suspect drove off in a blue Honda. Did you get the license plate?”
“The license plate, Miss.”
Think of the fun you can have with a license plate that reads: ACHOOOO.
To the librarian: “There’s a blue Honda in the parking lot with their lights on. Can you make an announcement over the speaker?”
“Of course. What’s the license plate number?”
“Gesundheit. Did you happen to jot down the license plate number?”
The librarian backs off.
Or how about a vanity plate that reads: IMSORRY.
The insurance agent, filling out the form for your new automobile policy: “Your license plate number?”
You turn to your husband and say, “You tell him, dear.”
Your husband mutters, “I’m sorry.”
“Louder, darling. I don’t think he heard.”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Is that what you want to hear? I’m sorry!”
But we don’t have to limit the fun to license plates. How about dinner plates? The Café Gratitude in Berkeley, California lists all of their menu items as positive affirmations. The customer is forced to say something like: “I’ll take the I AM BEAUTIFUL with a side of LIFE IS GOOD, and my daughter will have I BELIEVE.” Everyone’s a little cheerier, eyes a little twinklier, there’s a bounce in the stride, maybe a bigger tip in the offering.
What else can we force people to say? What if we gave ourselves goofy names?
The dignified host at a five-star restaurant: “Rosie Butts, your table is ready.”
Ah, the power of words. The power to make our lives a little brighter, sillier, joyful; or the power to make us grit our teeth and growl, “Arrrgh!” It’s all in the interpretation.
And the words we choose to speak.
Or put in our heads.
Or other’s heads.