Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Low License Plate Numbers

Around metro D.C., it has become apparent that one of the most impressive things you can have to prove your social status is having the lowest number on your license plate. The DMV usually issues these 4-digit plates by a lottery, but if you're connected it won't be a problem. The idea is if you have a lower number than your neighbor, then that clearly means you're more popular, travel in better social circles, and of course have more money. Whatever I guess.

There are so many material ways we judge each other's status and social well-being so let's just add this one to the list. From fancier cars, to larger homes, to bigger diamonds, to label-conscious clothing, to summer home locations, to private school acceptances, and of course appearance, there are many ways the typically affluent folks in our world try to look down and putdown each other. I was reminded to write this article after seeing a low-numbered Georgetown Prep School plate. I'm not saying that a certain type of person with connections to that school would be all over this sort of thing, oh no, not at all.

A low-numbered plate means you either have an "in" with a politician who pulled some strings to get your plate, or it could be "grandfathered" down within the family from someone who got a low-numbered plate a while's really an heirloom for snobby people. According to the article, someone paid $182,500 in 1994 for the #9 Delaware plate. Really people? So you get your low-numbered plate on your car, congratulations, now what are you going to do with your life? Do you hold your head up higher? I just think it really is a wasteful purchase, but who am I to say since it's their life, their money, and their own stupidity.

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