Vanity plates. You see them everywhere. Maybe you've even had a set at one time or another. I have. Years ago.
They said: WNR BLUT.
Per capita, the Commonwealth of Virginia has more vanity plates than any other state or commonwealth in the U.S.
I've also noticed a proliferation in what are called "Special Interest" plates. These are tags that support various organizations or interests ranging from NASCAR to Disabled Veterans of America, Kids/Families First to Breast Cancer Awareness, Purple Heart (what do you call them? Winners? Designees? "Hi Mom! I won a Purple Heart in Iraq. Cool, huh?" Seriously, though, what do you call them?) to POW. You can support your college or your branch of the military. You can proclaim your anger at the terrorists or you can hug a tree. There's something out there for everyone.
I did a little survey of DMV sites in six states. In addition to their standard issue plates, the following states have at least this many special interest plates:
New York: 256
And, here's the shocker: California... 10. Yep, that's it. Only 10 special interest plates in the Golden State. Which I found interesting because there are so many causes and special interests out there, you'd think there would be more.
But wait, there is more. The whooper of all special interest plates comes to us from the State of Maryland, which has 757 different tags! Good God! Get a grip, folks! Do we really care that you belong to the Fraternal Order of the Chocolate Hoarding, Uulating Daughters of the Left-handed Knitters of Norway? (Okay, I made that one up, but seriously, there are ones that are just about that silly in the Free State.)
Vanity, thy name is a license plate.