I grew up a very shy, private kid. I didn’t like being easily identifiable, whether by behavioral patterns or physical recognition. I just wanted to fly under the radar in anonymity. I stayed this way until I accidentally became a solo musical act in my late teens and developed an unexpected appreciation for the spotlight.
Even still, I’ve never had much interest in a custom license plate. All I could imagine is some buffoon I angered on the highway later recognizing my memorable placard and raising hell on me when I least expect it. I also never wanted to drive a sports car, so I guess breaking down on that decision brought me to a place of trying new things. Once I looked into the process and found that my county in Tennessee offers an online plate configuration tool, I knew there was no turning back.
How Do Personalized License Plates Work?
Here in my county, it’s a pretty simple process: you enter your top 3 options, submit them for approval, then pay a slightly higher registration fee. The real trick is coming up with a message that both fits into their character counts and hasn’t already been claimed by some more enterprising early bird.
For me, this was the perfect storm of personal fascination: I’ve been a lifelong avid Scrabble player, I match messages to character counts for a living, and I’ve been sucked into Wordle for months. Even after immediately finding my perfect plate to be available (DANIMAL, by the way), I spent hours messing around with different combinations trying to find the best available plates. Here are some of my favorites:
Top 6 Custom Plate Concepts
Drivers can be very aggressive. Want them to give you a little more space? Let them know you’re more dangerous on the road than they are.
The internet is my life, so this one feels obvious to me. It also works for the hoards of Facebook-while-you-drive circus animals I encounter every day on my morning commute.
What I love most about this plate is the fact we only use rear plates in Tennessee. You smoke some slowpoke at a red light? Rub it in their face with this mocking concession.
I like options in life. This one can be both offensive to the jerk you have to speed past on the highway (probably the owner of ON LINE while they check their likes), while also being a solid self-identifier that lets everyone know how humble you are.
Like NOTCOOL, this one can be both a self-identifier or a commentary on the outside world. Heck, who’s to say you can’t be impoverished and compassionate at the same time? This plate is great for avoiding a carjacking and/or offering condolences while passing a car accident.
Don’t Like What You See?
I think the options I’ve laid out are solid, but there’s always a slim chance I’ve missed a future legendary license plate. Think you can best me? Give it a shot.