The other day I was driving down the highway and saw a guy with one of those personalized license plates on his car. It said “BAD BOY,” and it got me to thinking about what this guy must be like and why he would decide to do that.
I pulled up next to the guy and looked over at him, and I guess he was what some would consider a bad boy. He had a shaved head and goatee. He was probably in his late 30s, and he was kind of a smaller guy. When he looked over at me he made what he probably thought was a very tough-looking expression. I just kind of smiled.
When the light turned green, he sped off, squealing his tires as he went. It was probably the only expression of aggression he felt comfortable trying with me, but it did get me to thinking. How much are personalized license plates a true expression of who people are and what they want to try to express to the world?
For some reason, this guy wanted people to think that he was a bad boy. Maybe he was, but it looked more to me like he really wanted to be a bad boy but probably got picked on a lot, and that he decided to try to create a persona where he would not be targeted so much for bullying.
He may have thought that one way he could get people to assume he was rough and that they needed to stay out of his way was through personalized license plates.
Another of the more amusing personalized license plates I once saw said PRINCE. It was a convertible, and I got the distinct impression that the young man driving the car had probably been coddled his entire life and had been convinced by his parents that he was, in fact, their prince.
He was talking on a cell phone as he drove and seemed to be oblivious to the world around him. He made a couple of ill-advised maneuvers on the road to a chorus of honks. It obviously did not bother him, however, as he casually raised his middle finger into the air and flew off down the road.
This young man obviously had some serious problems, including a tremendously overdeveloped sense of self-importance. The thing that struck me most, however, was that this was one of those personalized license plates that seemed so fitting for the driver’s personality.
I have never gone to the trouble of ordering a personalized license plate, but I certainly would never begrudge anybody that does. I think that some of them are very interesting and appropriate, but most of the time, I can’t help but laugh little when I am driving down the road and see one.