I was visiting a friend when her mom came into the room and sat down to chat with us. She’s in her mid 70s and we talked about a variety of topics. Somewhere along the way the conversation turned to cars. She mentioned that ever since she’d gotten vanity license plates that expressed her love for quilting, she’d noticed that some strange things had started to happen. She said that young men would seem to race up next to her car with a grin on their faces, then they seemed to be shocked when she made eye contact with them. She wasn’t sure if she was just imagining this, or if there was something going on that she didn’t understand.
Everything became perfectly clear when we went out to take a look at the plates. I must admit that I began smiling when I first saw them. Take a look at the photo above again if you didn’t catch it the first time:
When I asked her what the plate was supposed to represent, she said “quilt head,” a term that quilters apparently use for themselves when they are really into quilting. We explained that the young men that were driving up next to the car were likely reading the plate a bit differently. It took her a bit to sound out how others were reading the plate since she had “quilting” in her mind, but when she finally did, she exclaimed, “Oh my gosh!” in embarrassment, “those boys are reading that first word as “Quality!”
I tried to convince her that she should keep the plate for the humor and because it must totally shock those young men when they drive up, but I wasn’t persuasive enough. She made the decision to get the vanity plates replaced, losing the $49 it cost to get them in the first place.
When I saw this plate, it reminded me of another plate I’d seen on the Internet that had an unintentional meaning depending on how it was read:
She was obviously going for “nicest mom,” but sounding out the letters gives you the unintended reading of “incest mom” which was nothing close to what she wanted. Both these examples show that it’s worthwhile to have some others read your vanity plate just to make sure others won’t read it in an unintended way.
Getting the wrong vanity plate can cost you in other ways as well. A man with the license plate XXX XXXX ended up with over $19,000 worth of parking tickets because law enforcement wrote down XXX XXXX for parking tickets for cars that had no license plate. While he probably didn’t ultimately have to pay for the tickets, he also probably ended up spending a lot of time straightening out the entire situation.