People Are Strange

A fellow paralegal I didn’t particularly like gave me a memorable piece of advice over thirty years ago.  And I remember it clearly to this day.

“Never get a vanity license plate,” she said, “Because if you rob a bank or are involved in a hit-and-run accident, witnesses will remember it.”

In spite of the fact that I have never actually robbed a bank or run anybody over, I’ve followed that piece of advice.  But mostly it’s because I tend to change my mind about stuff.  (Like the time I decided that I really didn’t like my choice in between special ordering a new sofa and when it was delivered.)  So if I get a vanity plate, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to go to the DMV weekly to change my special plate when I decide that it isn’t quite as clever as I thought at the time.  [See:  Stupid blog name.]

But I love vanity plates.  I missed them when I was overseas.  I search the road for them while commuting and on road trips.  Sometimes, I laugh at the cleveness.  Often I try to figure out what a message might mean.  Sometimes I shake my head and try to figure out what insanity might possess someone to saddle themselves with such a stupid plate.

The one I saw tonight though, made all others pale in comparison.  It reached an entirely new dimension.  Beyond the earth’s stratosphere, mesosphere and thermosphere.  To Infinity and Beyond.  Literally.

It said:


OK, so that doesn’t seem all that ground-breaking, now does it?

The plate was on a hearse.

About this vintage.*

About this vintage.*

The hearse itself had seen better days, but it was pretty much like this picture that I found at this website, where they sell hearses, should you be at all interested in procuring one.  It was not at all like the fancy schmancy hearses I see regularly leaving this appropriately named local funeral parlor:

Photo from (I kid you not)

Photo from (I kid you not), a Northern Virginia Funeral Parlor

My hearse, I mean the one I’m talking about, had broken down in the left turn lane to get onto a major highway.  I drove past as the traffic in my lane flowed by, cursing myself for having my camera/cell phone in my pocket instead of ready for this photo op.  [Curses, foiled again.]

That was when I saw the pièce de résistance!  The driver stood in front of the hearse (making it far more likely that HE, and not EWE would, in fact,  be NEXT).  He was dressed in black jeans, black shoes and a black Panama hat.  Oh, and a black Blues Brother T-shirt.

Oh Yeah! Image from

Oh Yeah!
Image from


I’m pretty sure it was the reincarnation of John Belushi.

Honestly, I don’t know where I’d get my entertainment from if I worked at home.




Filed under Driving, Huh?, Humor, Traffic

71 responses to “People Are Strange

  1. Are you adjusting to your new digs without a view?

  2. I like it when I notice a vanity plate, or one of those front plates that have a name airbrushed on them, someplace like a grocery store parking lot so, when I see the driver inside I can walk past them and say, “Hey, Mandi–how’s it going?” without stopping.

  3. Julie

    That is almost enough for me to want to purchase an old hearse! (only if I can also have the plate)

    I saw one (a hearse, not a plate) not too long ago. It was old, and rusty, but still had the drapery hanging in the back windows. And it was pretty healthy engine wise. It was dark, about 10pm, and I was on my way home from the 2nd job, so I was tired but also curious, I wanted to see the driver, so I tried hard to get caught up to it. We turned onto a pretty dark stretch of road with forest preserve on both sides. This is when I caught up? I was too scaird to look, and it was too dark to see. By the time we got to street lights again he had gained a lot of space. My imagination had some dimented skeleton in a silk top hat driving, and if I had made eye /socket contact I was pretty sure it would have been me riding in the back!

    • Julie

      ok, now that I have the creepy hearse story out of my system, I bought a car for my daughter to use when she turned 16. Oh how I hemmed and hawwed. I don’t like making decisions at all. I wished my mom and/or dad was around to tell me what to do, but they had passed already. I bought a used 1995 chevy malibu. The girl didn’t like it. I talked to my sister who reminded me we had only one car for a long time growing up. Lots of drivers and only one car. Well, I decided to transfer title and plate it anyway, and I guess see if I could sell it again. Convinced I messed up and really feeling crappy about myself I went to the DMV. They don’t take cash for title transfers. What? No government issued cash? I had to go buy a money order. grrr. I should have brought a check, but who would guess they wouldn’t take cash? ok, title tranfer success, on to get the plates. the random plate I got had my mom and dad’s telephone number. Sigh of relief and a thanks daddy, I took it as a sign I did ok.

      I once pulled up to ask about a plate we couldn’t figure out. Funny thing was we knew the guy driving, and the mess on the plate was everyone in the family’s first initial! We were looking for the hidden message!

      • My earlier response was for the first of your two comments, but it appears on the post as a comment on the second one. Oh well.

        I love the story of your license plate! There is nothing like feeling like someone is watching out for you — and you had visible proof!

        We bought our son a car, too. He grumbled about the color. So, I did the thing that irritates him more than anything else — the world’s smallest violin:

        He learned to love that car, color and all.

    • That is a funny story. You really have to wonder what possesses people to drive such a vehicle, don’t you. (Or perhaps “who” possesses them?!) But it was probably a good thing not to look at the hearse driver in the middle of the woods — that has “slasher” movie written all over it!

  4. Elyse, this gave me shivers. It has to mean….something. Something really profound. Maybe you should buy a lottery ticket?

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  6. Haha! Love it. My kind of humor. (are you surprised by this?)

  7. Too funny! There really are some clever ones. There was a short lived game show on TV that had contestants trying to figure out what certain vanity plates were trying to say. Like I said, it didn’t last long but it was pretty entertaining.

  8. hahaha so funny! I wrote about my license plate yesterday too!

  9. I nearly wreck trying to figure out what some of them mean — you know the ones — numbers and letters all mixed up together. Yikes!

    • Me too! Some of them are completely incomprehensible. Others are weird. There used to be one around here, presumably a dermatologist, whose license plate read: “ZITZAPPER” — ummmmmmmmm

  10. Eva

    You don’t strike me as a vanity plate kinda woman.

  11. I can understand vanity plates for individuals, but that one was pretty tacky for a funeral home. Although, I’ve met some darned funny funeral home directors…

    That aside, the most memorable vanity plate I ever saw was when I was in my 20s. It was 1 WABIT 1 The plate was on a beat up Volkswagon Rabbit. Hilarious if you ever watched Looney Toons cartoons… :)

  12. I read the ewe as an actual ewe because I’m literal like that.

  13. Twindaddy

    That just seems…wrong.

  14. We do have vanity plates of a sort in the UK, but they are normally limited to being the initials of the owner followed by the number one. Even then, they do attract the ‘Raised Eyebrow Award’ over here. Its a brave piece of vanity which owns one, or a sort of insensitivity, which can be quite similar I suppose

  15. A pox on people who have vanity plates that are so cryptic they’re only decipherable to them. What’s the point of that?!

    I love political bumper stickers. Ones for a candidate who lost an election in a landslide several years ago are a particular favorite of mine.

  16. I think I might be in awe. What a great license plate for that car. Perfect. I must admit, I have a vanity plate on one of my cars; QBG 01. Now that I have taken over another car in my divorce, I plan on getting another; QBG 02.

    Next time, have your phone ready for a photo op.

    • Your plate is great. Are. Will be.

      But I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. I nearly drove around the block to get another photo op, but abad storm was coming. Oh well. Thank Google as always!

  17. From the plate to the Blues Brothers T-shirt … hilarious! Nothing beats the real life entertainment that is for sure.

  18. I don’t think you’re as fickle as you say you are, Elyse. You blog name was, technically, already outdated just weeks after you created it, and you’re still sticking to it. :)
    And what does Ewe Next signify on a broken-down hearse, exactly – am Eye Next, or does my car breaks down next?

    • Given that my car is getting on in years, I’m hoping it is my car not me!

      My blog name also has a more significant meaning Both of my sisters assed away way too young (at 47 and 61. 54.5 is the average, so I can remind myself to take every day as it comes.

  19. Paul

    Ha! That’s hilarious Elyse. Good eye to pick it up.

  20. I expected it would be a plate on a truck for a sheep farm. Hearse is even better.

  21. Hilarious, Elyse. I have to admit I have a vanity plate – my first ever. I drive a cute little two-seater sports car – a Chrysler Crossfire – and my husband came up with the idea: XFYRGDS. It stands for “Crossfire Goddess.” The car – not the driver. I call her the Goddess!

  22. Well played! I’ve never had a vanity plate, nor considered one … but keep a casual eye on the lookout for them.

  23. “Honestly, I don’t know where I’d get my entertainment from if I worked at home.” LOL – truth is stranger than fiction.

    • It really is, isn’t it! When I called my husband to tell him about this, he said in a rather stunned manner, “I don’t know quite how to react to that.” All I could do was laugh!

  24. 1jaded1

    Hahahahahaha…. That’s great. IL has the largest number of vanity plates per state. I’ve seen some oddballs, but this is the best!

    • It’s a memorable one for sure, Jaded. If only I’d had my camera (and I don’t normally feel comfortable blogging something traceable as a license plate — but I’m pretty sure this guy wants the attention!)

  25. I always appreciate a license plate that’s cleverer than I can be.
    The people with vanity plates with jokes I don’t get are just pezheads.

  26. Now that’s a macabre sense of humor. Of course, what does one expect from the driver of a hearse? Oh, I know, human decency maybe… It takes all kinds, doesn’t it? :)

    • I don’t think he was a real hearse driver. I mean in a professional way. Because he was, in fact, a hearse driver…

      At least I don’t think there was a legitimate corpse in there.

      I hope. (But it would be a clever way to smuggle a body … you can use that in your next book. No charge!)

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