Two of my favorite nicknames stories from the past three years involve cars. In one instance, a 1949 Cadillac was given the nickname "The Patty Caddy." It is a promotional vehicle for the Cedarburg hamburger stand and restaurant called Wayne's. The other story involves a vanity plate for a 1966 Chevy. The vanity plate simply reads: "Woot 66," an obvious play on the famous Route 66.
Like so many other people I've spoken to over the years, they are at least intrigued, if not at times fascinated, by vanity license plates. I have always found them curious, if not somewhat revealing as well. So on June 1, I decided to devote two quick hours of time to cruise a few parking lots and to photograph some vanity plates in Ozaukee County. During that time, I captured over 65 vanity plate nicknames.
Part of my vanity plate quest involved being on private property, so I had to secure permission. When I told the approving person about my project, she very eagerly shared that, "Sometimes when I see a vanity plate I don't understand. I want to catch up to them, roll down my window, and ask them what their plate means." We all know this is a very popular and shared sentiment.
I also called the DMV in Madison, to ask them if they would share with me their best guess as to what percentage of the total registered vehicles in Wisconsin are considered "vanity" by their definition and what the current fee is for a vanity plate. The current annual fee is $15. The woman I spoke to was unable to cite actual figures, but her best "guesstimate" was about 10 percent.
So after reviewing the 65 plates I photographed, I determined that I needed help with about a dozen of them, and they are in need of an explanation. I'll share those with you now, and see if you can help:
J O W
To be sure, there were plenty of the obvious ones: RGR8MOM, Be Wel, Re Valu, BNANA 4U, Ski Bug 1, Stok Dok, Yelow SB and 1st Pony.
In only…Read more...