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Vanity Plate

I’m a sucker for a good vanity plate. Probably a side effect of growing up in the 80’s. Back when being in the car for an extended period of time was so boring it was considered torture by the Geneva Convention.

We did anything to make the time go faster, and I mean anything. We counted exits, we colored in coloring books, we prayed. This wasn’t so bad for us Catholics. My mom would be like, “Time to say the rosary,” and there went an hour of the trip.

Plus there’s something exotic about the rosary. You could do the Joyful Mysteries. You could do the Sorrowful Mysteries. I was like, “You had me at Mysteries.” And off on our Hail Marys we went.

Occasionally on these long car trips we would get lucky. Occasionally someone in front of us would have a vanity license plate. Mom would get our attention, and we would all sit up in our seats. It was like one of the Joyful Mysteries had come true!

Vanity Plates were the best. I’m not exaggerating. We all felt like code breakers. Like we should sign up for the CIA.

My mom, of course, was really good at them, and would blurt out the answer in thirty seconds. We’d all be like, “Thanks a lot Mom!” And she’d say, “I gave up my career for you assholes. I get the Vanity Plate!”

If it was a really hard one, that’s when the real fun began. Usually people with vanity plates were cooler than people driving mini-vans. They certainly held less regard for the rules of the road. I’m saying they usually drove faster than we did. My dad was a stickler for the speed limit. He would just let the clue on four wheels drive way. My mom, however, liked a little danger. Maybe it was because she had just prayed the rosary and knew that “God got this.” She would put the pedal to the metal, throw caution to the wind, and sound out the clue with the lives of her family members hanging in the balance behind her.

There even used to be a game show based on guessing vanity plates. It was on during the day, so Mom used to watch it. There used to be lots of fun game shows on during the day. 20 Thousand Dollar Pyramid. Something with a whammy. Watching a game show now I’m like—what the hell is this?? Why is Alec Baldwin yelling at these people? How desperate are these two bit-celebrities? Is there anything Ellen can’t make a white woman do? Like why isn’t SHE running for president? If you’re so worried about winning the suburban vote—there’s your answer right there.

I’ve often wondered the thought process behind getting a vanity plate. Like how much disposable income did you have? Not that I have any idea of how much they cost. You could name any number and I’d be like—sure. Also, how did you decide what message you wanted on your plate? What meant enough to you that you wanted to display it on the back of your car in cryptic form?

This morning I left the Courtyard by Marriott at about 9:45 a.m. for my 10 a.m. appointment at Emory. I left Jaimie at the hotel because Emory has now instituted a No Visitor Policy. It should be this way for another six months. I figure that because Eric Trump said the virus will clear up after the election. Since he said it, there’s no chance that it won’t, am I right?

Side bar—is there a dumber person on the planet than Eric Trump? Starting with his face. I know we’re not supposed to judge books by their cover, but come on. He’s got it double bad. Not only has he got a stupid face, but he’s got a punchable one as well. Yet the things that drivel out of his stupid, punchable mouth are reported on and given oxygen in this idiotic media environment we find ourselves living in. It’s no wonder mother nature is attacking us.

Anyway. What was I writing about? Oh yes! Vanity plates! So this morning I kissed Jaimie goodbye and headed to the Winship Cancer Center. As I was turning left onto the road that leads to the garage, I got behind this shiny, brand new Chevy Impala.

With a mother-freaking VANITY PLATE!

I was so excited! The Impala was heading to the same garage which gave me the time I needed. Luckily, the plate was super easy. It said: BLKBOUGEE

Black Bougie.

I chuckled to myself. The plate made sense. We were in Atlanta. The center of Black Bougie culture. Part of me felt a little bad for the Chevy Impala. True Bougie would have valet parked, but hey, we are on the cusp of a global recession.

That’s when the greatest thing ever happened.

Parking is never easy in the Winship parking garage. No matter what the circumstances are. And this was 10 o’clock in the morning. Who cares that there was no traffic coming in. There was no way we weren’t parking on anything lower than the fourth floor. Third floor MMMMAAAYYYBBBEEEE.

BLKBOUGEE took its ticket, the arm to the garage lifted, and then, this mother freaker, turned into the very first spot. The very first. Not the third or the fourth or the fifth. The first. It was maybe the greatest moment in parking garage history. And bougie AF.

I was glad I got to witness it. And I was so happy that it happened to BLKBOUGEE. I wanted to stop my car, get out, and start clapping, but I was wearing a mask and that could have ended weird.

I got a pretty good spot, myself. Top of the fourth floor. It felt right, considering I was driving Jaimie’s car, and the letters on her license plate are PHQ. Sound them out. Get it?

Fourth floor is the most we can expect.

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