It’s Personal! General Nonsense 29 APR 2007

news24 logoSo seeing as there is still on day left in the News24 column challenge and my first entry actually got accepted and posted on the site, I’ve decided to quickly fire off my second salvo. Here it is in its full glory…

Its Personal!

Personalized number plates are becoming increasingly popular on our streets. Everywhere you drive theres now a 007 or Liefie racing around, proudly advertising their individuality. Now make no mistake, the option to customize ones car by selecting your own number plate is a great idea – somewhere someone is making lots of money out of it, our economy is happily gobbling up the extra work and people are happy to drive THEIR cars around. You know, 1Life tends to be thoroughly happy in driving around and showing everyone just who is boss.

But does anyone who owns a personalized number plate ever stop to think of the consequences of their bright shiny custom plates? If you think about it, its kind of like spray painting a bright neon bullseye on your car that reads hit me I’m an inDUHvidual. Its like owning a pink Cadillac everyone points, stares and comments as you ride past, its just that you don’t actually hear what the comments are about.

When Bellvilles infamous Daredevil branded taxi cuts you off in Voortrekker Road, its an instantly recognizable event and the next time you see the bugger trying to race somewhere you purposefully go slow and generally drive like an idiot in front of him. The pumpkin coloured BMW labeled SuzyBabe suffers the exact same revenge every time I see her driving around town.

Then there are the horror stories of cheaters getting caught out simply because someone they know randomly walks past a house at 3am in the morning and recognizes their car being somewhere it really ought not to be.

Of course hit and runs are a heck of a lot more difficult too. Imagine knocking a pedestrian down and then racing off, just to be pulled over at the next set of robots because someone reported your 2Fast plates. And committing crimes are made pretty difficult by these things as well, never mind trying to race away from a restaurant without paying for you meal.

But there are of course positives to personalized plates too. Its handy when you stagger out of a 20 car pileup on the N1 only to instantaneously be able to pick out your crushed tin can from the rest. Its also nice to be able to positively ID your car in a flash as the police tow truck hauls it away for illegal parking. And of course finding your car in a packed parking lot is a cinch too.

Businesses increasingly use personalized number plates as well nowadays. It always gives a nice fuzzy feeling in ones heart when you purposefully rear-end the bugger of an estate agent that screwed you over.

So I say go for it. Personalize your number plates all you want. The more targets on the road, the better for us vengeful road-rage-infested assassin-like drivers.

As for me, I think Ill happily stick to my anonymous and rather boring number. I just don’t like being pointed at and made fun of.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.