Sunday, October 04, 2015

Vanitas Vanitatum

Vanitas Vanitatum

I decided last week that I wanted one of those vanity licence plates for the big blue van. I mean it seems that I make a statement in most everything I do, so why not have one trailing behind me as I roar around the city.

Of course, this travelling tag of mine would have to be something catchy, something like the two I have seen on a couple of cars driving around the new digs. One is KIS DIS and the other is B STIFF. I find both of those make an interesting statement about the psyche of the person driving each of those cars, and I wanted something that would shock and awe the world.

So I went to the DMV early one morning, because the line ups are notorious here in these tiny little offices that renew driver's licences and automobile registrations and what not. When I got there, I picked a number from the ticket dispenser right inside the front door. I looked to see that I was number 308. That didn't sound especially promising to me, but I was not to be deterred, and I took a seat to wait my turn.

After an hour or so, I was called to one of the five wickets, where a young girl, somewhat odd in appearance, greeted me. She had no eyebrows. Instead, a series of piercings outlined where her eyebrows might have been at one time. The effect was a little shocking, even to me.

"Form?" she growled.

"Pardon me?" I replied.

"Form? Form? Where is your form for renewal?" she said in a bark now.

"Oh, I'm not renewing anything. I'm here to order a vanity licence plate."

"You get five tries," she moaned as she turned her attention towards her computer.

"Pardon me?" I replied again.

"You get five tries to select an available series of numbers or letters or a combination of numbers and letters. Five. If none of your five are available, then you must return another day, or go to the back of the line. Each selection must be 2 to 8 characters in length. Go ahead. What's your first choice?"

I looked at her with some displeasure. "I don't suppose BLOW ME would be available?" I asked.

"Sorry," she said with a bemused grin, sort of like she had heard that one a few dozen times before, "no sexual references allowed. Next try?"

I was dumbfounded. No sexual references? Isn't B STIFF a little sexual in nature? Isn't the automobile a symbol of every man's mojo? All of my choices were somewhat sexual in nature — CARGASM, PENIST, BUCKNAKD, 4PLAYER — well, you get the idea.

I quickly reformatted my thinking. Perhaps something to do with music?

"How about FAB FOUR?" I ventured.

Her fingers danced across the keyboard of her computer. "Not available. Three tries left. Next?"

Sure that I had this puzzle solved, I gleefully proposed, "FAB 4!"

She looked at me with a smirk. "You serious?" she asked.

"Of course," I responded confidently. "FAB 4, you know, as in The Beatles, British music group, 60's, more popular than Jesus?"

Her smirk lengthened into a tale she would tell to her friends around the table at the bar that night.

"Mister, I know who The Beatles are," she chortled as her fingers scooted over her keyboard, "but I also know that we have had vanity licence plates since 1975. And you really think FAB anything is available?"

Then after only a second or two, she looked from the computer screen to me, and she said, "Nope, not available. Two tries left."

My mind swirled. No FAB. What then? Surely, someone has taken BEATLES and probably everything and anything based on BEATLES. Perhaps another group, but which one? Stones? The Who? Led Zeppelin? AC/DC? No, maybe not AC/DC ...

Then I decided that it was time to think completely outside the box. "GOGH," I proposed, completely confident that this one would be available.

The young lady looked up at me and arched her left row of piercings.

"Let me guess," she said with a sinister smile, "you drive a van right?"

"Yes, why, how did you know ... ?"

She cut me off with a cackle. "I mean, really, GOGH on a van, making it a Van Gogh, right?"

"Uh, yes, what ..."

"Not available," she chuckled with far too much glee. "Last try."

So there I was on my last try, and not an idea in my head, nada, nothing, the big double-zero.

"Last try," I moaned aloud.

Before I could say another word, her fingers danced over her keyboard.

"Congratulations," she almost bellowed, "LAST TRY is available and now reserved for you. Cost is $310.00 plus tax. Cash, Visa, or Mastercard only. I'll need your driver's licence or vehicle registration. Delivery takes 2 - 3 weeks."

I looked at her with what must have been moon-eyes doing small circles in my eye-sockets. My mind went blank, clouded, went blank again, and then did a kind of cosmic leap.

"I'll take it, " I said simply.

Somehow, KARMA has always made sense out of my life.



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