What vanity moose plates say to others
The other day I went to Lyndeborough Town Hall to register my new 2012 Prius from Horseless Carriage, which is beginning to seem like my second home, and told Trish, the town clerk, I wanted moose plates and she asked, “Do you want moose vanity plates? Because if you do, you have to get them at the DMV.”
Well, I didn’t want moose vanity plates because I don’t need vanity plates to demonstrate my specialness to the world; it should be obvious. But it got me thinking: What the heck is a moose vanity plate?
Do you get to dress the moose in Ivanka Trump clothing? What could be more vain than that?
No, a moose doesn’t wear clothing in this universe. Maybe when the animals take over (which is one reason I try to remain pals with my cat, to wit, “I’m on your side, animals. Just ask Mandy. Eat somebody else.”)
Then I thought, no, I’ve got it: The moose on the moose vanity plate CAN TALK. Better, YOU can program it to say whatever you want it to say.
For instance … well, first, look at it this way: If you have a moose vanity plate, man, you BETTER have a vehicle about which to be vain. So let’s assume you do (perhaps a JAG-u-ar, as Inspector Morse was wont to say). You could program the moose on your front plate to alert people to your impending arrival near them as they stroll down the street:
FRONT-PLATE MOOSE: Attention people on the street. Teddy is coming in his JAG-u-ar. All turn and admire Teddy and his JAG-u-ar. Hurry and admire before you miss him.
And then, as you pass those wide-eyed, marveling people, the moose on the back plate could bellow out:
BACK-PLATE MOOSE: All say farewell to Teddy and his wonderful JAG-u-ar. Teddy is on his way to an important meeting, a meeting much more important than anything you have to do, so wave goodbye to Teddy and his JAG-u-ar, and, if you are humble enough in your waving, Teddy will return someday to allow you to marvel some more.
Wouldn’t that be cool, if you’re Teddy? And surely the folks on the sidewalk would be so busy marveling at Teddy and his JAG-u-ar they would forget to hurl rather old vegetables at him, thus sparing him the trouble of paying someone to detail his JAG-u-ar to remove the tomato stains.
But here’s what worries me, or would worry me were I Teddy (I can’t afford to be Teddy, which is why I buy used cars). Suppose the front-plate moose and the back-plate moose somehow tap into artificial intelligence, or maybe we all just live in an episode of “The X Files.” Sure, Teddy has programmed them to say what Teddy wants them to say. But just suppose the back-plate moose resents the front-plate moose because the back-plate moose always is bringing up the rear and some folks on the street, not suitably impressed by Teddy and his JAG-u-ar, often make fun of him by saying nasty things like:
STREET PERSON: Hey, everybody, look at the back-plate moose. He’s just a JAG-u-ar’s behind.
Eventually, the back-plate moose is going to demand his turn on the front of Teddy’s JAG-u-ar. Naturally, the front-plate moose is going to tell him to take a long walk into a bog because no sane front-plate moose is going to give up his position and become a back-plate moose and get mocked. You can’t mock a front-plate moose. What could you possibly say? No, the front plate is where it’s at for a moose.
So, this could be trouble. Imagine poor Teddy driving down the street in, say, The Hamptons, seriously trying to impress the glitterati, like those folks in a scene from “Revenge” or “Royal Pains,” and all of a sudden his two moose start yelling at one another.
BACK-PLATE MOOSE: Let me up front, you son of an elk.
FRONT-PLATE MOOSE: Never. You’re much too uncouth for the front of a JAG-u-ar.
BACK-PLATE MOOSE: I’m gonna murder you.
FRONT-PLATE MOOSE: How? You’re way back there and screwed onto the bumper. Just plain screwed, actually, ah, ha, ha, ha.
Suddenly people are looking at Teddy as if HE’S making all that racket. This is THE HAMPTONS. We don’t yell on the street. Suddenly Teddy is persona non grata at all the fancy estates and best parties, not only in The Hamptons, but also deverywhere he wants to be – Manhattan, Miami, LA. The next thing Teddy knows, EVERYBODY
who is ANYBODY shuns him. What’s left for Teddy?
Now, do you see why I said “No” when Trish asked about vanity moose plates? Someday, I want to be able to go to The Hamptons without being shunned.
YOU: In a 2012 Prius? You might as well have dueling moose plates.