Particulate Matters: On My Plate
I’ll bet any amount of money that everyone experiences a feeling of being instantly pissed off at some point in life. I’m including people who are purportedly always calm, never truly bothered by anything, and such.
For the most part, I’m one of those folks. I don’t let too many things rattle me to the point of being blood-boiling mad, and I definitely don’t yell or let loose a verbal stream of expletives as a method of finding solace on the infrequent occasions when something actually does get my goad. Calm, cool, and collected. Yes, it’s a cliché, and maintaining all three states of being—at the same time—is a pretty big challenge, but I think I do a pretty good job of managing things.
Well, I’m using my column to confess this month. While I didn’t lose it or do anything extreme, I actually had a moment when I was “instantly pissed off” after seeing, of all things, a license plate on the vehicle was in front of me on the freeway one day. OK, here’s the part where we all collectively laugh at my pettiness, because seriously, I’m cracking up at myself.
The California DMV–issued vanity plate, which was attached to a Mercedes-Benz SUV of all vehicles, read “DSL PWR.” (I think it’s safe to assume this means diesel power. Maybe not the magazine, but diesel power nonetheless.) As soon as I saw the license plate and processed its characters, my typical cool immediately went to red hot. Why? Because just two days before this sighting, I said to myself, I should apply for vanity tags for Big White, my white ’95 Ford F-350 dualie. If DSL PWR isn’t already taken, it would be badass! Now that you know this, I bet it’s easier to understand why the skin on the back of my neck immediately started to feel like it was roasting when I saw that!
When it comes to vanity tags, like anything, there are people who love them and people who don’t care too much for the novelty. Even though they’re additional-cost items, I think the tags are creative and pretty cool, and I really enjoy seeing most of the ideas diesel enthusiasts use to give their rigs the extra personal touch.
The way I score it, as Diesel Power editor, that plate should be mine and only mine (or whoever is editor)—nobody else’s. That’s ridiculous selfishness, of course, but seeing my days-old idea staring me right in the face sure did sting. It was just a quick moment of feeling like I always miss out on getting things I want, but, of course, that’s not true. Thankfully, I only dwelled on the misfortune long enough to be able to tell you about it.
Timing really is everything, and I guess this is a good lesson for me, and all of us: Don’t hesitate to make moves you feel strongly about. I could have—and should have—ordered a vanity tag five years ago, when I took my job. I didn’t, and now seeing the plate that relates directly to what I do and is the one I feel I should have (on someone else’s rig) is the price I have to pay. Oh, well.
So, I guess I’m still in the market for a good vanity license tag, and I need suggestions for the personalization that should be stamped on it. I have a few ideas, but I’m also interested in hearing what you think will be an appropriate seven-character word, slogan, or name for Big White. Hit me up and let me know.