The “drunk” license plate with Marin border is amazing…and sad. RT @davidbellona: current status of SF pic.twitter.com/iYCfsA2Lfi
— matthewmeschery (@matthewmeschery) January 11, 2014
This afternoon, Boing Boing announced a new running column on their website devoted to the publisher of the website and his personalized license plates.
Here’s the backstory from Jason Weisberger.
Most of the country considers California and its vanity plates crazy already. The US has vanity plates all over, but California has a special car culture. I’ve always felt there was a certain art form to the way Californians express themselves through the highly restrictive communications medium of license plates. Growing up in Santa Monica, I’d certainly seen a ton of cute and creative ones. I remember seeing “CRE8IVE” around, and it’s still a favorite, along with “6UL DV8.”
Famed actor Dean Martin had the ultimate vanity plate. Dino’s vanity plate read “DRUNKY.” This is among the many reasons he remains a hero of mine to this day. The Hollywood star passed away on Christmas Day, in 1995. In early 1996 I was at the DMV registering my terrible 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 XL convertible, and the hardworking person behind the counter asked me if I wanted a personalized plate.
I guess they were trying to upsell us, back then, as today’s DMV won’t do a thing you haven’t already filled out the correct form for. Back in 1996, when this smiling woman asked me that question, I tried to think of something brilliant. Something like Dean would have done! What did I ask for? I asked for DRUNKY, because I wasn’t very creative. Predictably, they told me they cannot reissue a plate. Then, in a moment that changed my life, she spun her orange and black, WYSE terminal-ish screen and shared a list of similar but available words.
Near the top of the list was “DRUNK.”
“I’ll take that,” I said.
The DMV contacted Weisberger about his request, and after a pretty simple question and answer process, Weisberger was told to come pick up his plates. That was over twenty years ago.
The plates have been transferred to several different cars over the past two decades and Weisberger has promised “adventures, odd experiences, and wonderful opportunities” all thanks to the DRUNK plates. Weisberger will also explain the nasty side of owning the “offensive to some” plates.
So here’s the question, as we await the pending series — is a license plate that says DRUNK offensive? Is it funny, in a tongue-in-cheek way or insensitive to those who’ve lost loved ones to drunk driving?
[via Boing Boing]