guessing that most of you are at least somewhat familiar with
that great travel time passer, the license plate game. For the
two or three of you that may not know of itÖ
very rough description would be to spot as many license plates
from different states as possible. Simple. A more complex description
might cover additional plates (such as U.S. Government or Washington,
D.C.) or alternate versions of plates from the same state. Basics
the sameÖ variations existÖ not too much different than playing
Monopoly. (Know the rules before rolling the diceÖ at least avoid
half the fights that way.)
and I set a personal best during a 2016 road trip. We drove along
the east coast twice, and crossed the borders of twelve different
states. Not counting those bonus possibilities, we saw forty-nine
of fifty license plates. As I recall, the only missing state was
think about that amazing trip from time to time. Usually whenever
we kick off a new round of the game. And, for a number of reasons,
I find it remarkable how well the game itself lines up as an example
of the realities of life.
basics are true enough and hardly surprising.
instance, location matters. Something as general as the weather
forecast for your day is determined by location. Snow in Buffalo
does not equal snow in San Diego. If youíre standing at an intersection
in Honolulu, the odds of spotting a license plate from Hawaii
improve. Location matters.
is fairly average as numbers go for anything in life. And itís
not that hard to clear twenty states. The game begins to get interesting
and challenging when you cross off eighty to ninety percent of
often than not, excitement arrives with the unexpected curveballs.
Such as Nevada.
real fun is where some observations will take you.
you believe that organization matters? A lot? Well, it does. Often
times we bring along a list of the fifty states and cross them
off as we spot them. Iíve seen maps for sale with magnetic markers
to use. Play the old-fashioned way though, with a notepad for
making a list, and things get interesting. You place Ohio to high
on fairly blank sheet, have no room for all of the states beginning
with M and N as a result, and never space things out properly.
You need just one line for any D (that would be Delaware) and
eight for M. No lines for B. A bit of planning and thought can
make a difference.
tangents come around often enough. So many trucks with plates
from Maine and Tennessee. Oklahoma shows up as well. Itís not
the states with the highest populations that find their plates
on the majority of trailers.
can strike any of us at any time. Thereís that state, usually
Wisconsin, that you repeatedly forgot you already have. Thereís
a certain obscurity to it, a lack of familiarity, that makes it
seem so unique every time itís sighted. And yet, there it is,
already marked on your list.
could go on. Likely donít need to.
things are easy, while others may never be accomplished. We have
responsibilities and obligations, with occasional moments of recreation.
And all of the rules and regulations and personal preferences
and choices swirl around and create unique stretches.
as is the case with life itself, itís very easy to take things
just a bit too seriously.
like to tell you that I have some incredible realization as a
result of all of this. I donít. And I think thatís part of it
as well. Your approaches and answers about the meaning of life
are going to be different than mine. Neither of us is wrong. Just
depends on how we play the game.