While most of my readers come here to read a regular bit of automotive story telliing, the other part comes here because I send them a regular check so they'll keep reading (and hopefully pass along the link to others).
But all good blogs should fulfill some sort of need with the reader, and, in the case of this blog, I'm hoping you're here because I'm helping fulfill the need in your life for a good break from reality and provide some entertainment. However, I'm also happy to help fulfill the need to help my fellow motorists.
In some states, things like vehicle inspections and registrations are handled via a decal on the car. Sometimes, it's on the windshield and is unceremoniously scraped off and replaced by a DMV employee with a large metal scraper.
In other states, like here in Maryland, it's up to the individual vehicle owner to apply their own renewal decals to specified places on the license plate. It's really a simple matter of receiving a small, red decal with a number on it for the month, and a small white decal with the year on it. There's even corresponding squares painted on the license plate, and handy instructions printed on the piece of paper onto which the decals are attached. You'll never get the old decals off the plate, so you simply peel off the new decals, and apply them directly on top of the old ones.
Despite all of the instructional planning that the Maryland DMV undertakes, there are a surprising amount of drivers that overthink this simple premise. Fortunately, their genius is put on display in front of the world to see.
Start watching license plates in states like this. In no time, you'll start to see decals that are placed upside-down. Or the decals are placed on the wrong sides. Or, my personal favorite, every renewal decal since 1978 is placed somewhere on the license plate, and resembles the football helmet of a future Heisman Trophy recipient. Once, I even saw one that had the decals cut carefully around the license plate numbers.
That's not a joke, friends. I really did see that.
The sheer creativity of these individuals never ceases to amaze me. I often wish I could be an onlooker when the renewal decals arrive in the mail at their home, just so I could watch the mental anguish that comes from them trying to figure out where they are going to place the newest two decals. I'll bet there are some car owners who even take the time to remove the plate, just so they can carefully place the decals and unknowingly screw it up for another two years.
"I wonder why no one else has this problem?" they'll ask themselves. "This is ridiculous."
Rather than walking to the next nearest car to compare plates, they'll simply find room to apply the new decals, just like they always do. Then they'll bolt the plates back onto the car, and go about life for another two years.
In the end, maybe it comes down to ignorance really being bliss.
So whether you needed entertainment today, or maybe you needed to learn something new, I hope that today's entry fulfilled your personal need. And hey, if you know a vehicle owner that is decal-applicably challenged, tell them they need to read this article.