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By Mel White 

Playing tag

On the Bright Side


November 9, 2019

Mel White

Some people grumble all the way to the Department of Motor Vehicles when they have to get new license plates, while others make it a fun or memorable occasion. I never did grumble too much, but neither could I ever remember the series of random letters and numbers assigned to my vehicles.

Over the last few years I've gotten personalized plates and, I must admit, while I do not show cleverness or ingenuity that many people do when they create their own personalized plates, I do like having tags that say something about me (and that are easy for me to remember).

My car is just an anagram of my initials, while my motorcycle was a little more creative: it was PJ3 (which stood for Pride and Joy #3, my third cruiser and a three-wheeler at that). My most fun plate is on my RV, which is M5 MM (Mel's Marvelously Magical and Majestically Magnificent Miss Minnie).

I love seeing what other people come up with and I have a huge collection of photos I've taken of other people's imaginative plates in various places (i.e., other cities, other states). Here are some of my favorites, purchased by people obviously having more fun at the licensing bureau than most of us usually have.

ELMR FD was on a huge GMC SUV, parked at the doctor's office and I happened to see the lady who came out to get into it. She laughed and explained to me that "Elmer Fudd" was her husband's nickname for her. "Not entirely flattering," she said, but we both agreed it was a fun and unusual tag.

And another nickname, I imagine, was one that hopefully someone had fun with. It was STINKY on a white Explorer. I never did get the story on that one, but I'm sure it would be an interesting one.

On a little red Mazda convertible was the plate KATSFUN. The sweet young thing in the driver's seat – I assume it was Kat or Kathy or Kate or someone with a similar name – did appear to be having a good time with the top down and the wind blowing through her hair.

On a white Mustang was the tag GISTFUN. At first I thought it meant "Just Fun," but someone suggested maybe it was "Gee, it's fun!" and I decided she was probably right, if a bit dyslexic. Either way, someone has the right attitude.

Speaking of attitude, you can put yours on a plate if you want to. I saw a black Mercedes sporting an EBNI QN license plate. Ebony Queen, I figure, and the woman driving did look rather regal. I like it when someone thinks enough of themselves to announce it to the world.

Along those same lines, a gold Lincoln's tag reads STANITA, which I think must stand for Saint Anita. Is it just those luxury cars that have the good attitudes about themselves?

Maybe not. The 4X4BUTY tag on a red Pathfinder could have been referring to the vehicle or the driver. I don't know which, but since it noted the 4X4 part, I'm guessing it was not a person (and if it was, it must be a person with a really healthy attitude about their own size).

Then again, I wonder if the driver of the Toyota pickup that chose 2PIDTWK for a vanity plate might have had just the opposite feeling about his vehicle. I'm guessing that plate stands for "two-pid twuck," translated from baby-talk to plain English as "Stupid Truck."

MLLR ZOO was on a white Chevy Ventura and it made me laugh, thinking about the probable soccer Mom who had a sense of humor to get such a tag. I wonder if the Miller family has a lot of kids or a lot of pets or a lot of both, making it feel like riding around with a zoo full of some kind of creatures in the van.

One of the best I've seen was a thought for other drivers. UBE WELL was on a silver pickup, and I think it's a darned good message for all of us. You be as well as you can be, today and every day.

© Marilda Mel White. Mel is a local writer/photographer and co-owner of Tehachapi Treasure Trove. She's been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996 and has been checking out license plates since the 80s when she saw her first vanity plate, Mel welcomes your comments at


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