Thursday, June 18, 2009

Being cool

The car in the picture says MO MNY on the license plate. We were on our way down Los Feliz Boulevard near the Greek Theatre and it donned on me after seeing this plate... What's with vanity plates?

We are a vain society and likely even more so in Los Angeles. Vanity plates say "Look at me, read my plate, guess what it is. Isn't that cool? You like it?" I must admit some are pretty smart and I don't mind ones that have family references on them, but most are just lame. This one bordered on lame, arrogant, retarded, with a spritz of WTF?. Here this guy rolls along in a C55 AMG, a car that is likely close to $100,000. The letters AMG on a Mercedes Benz automatically signify that you have money. Adding the vanity plate adds insult to injury. Saying "Look peasants, this car belongs on the Autobahn but I choose to drive it in the gridlock of Los Angeles. Blat!"

Bumper stickers are a notch down from personalized plates. Sort of the poor man's vanity plate. I especially enjoy the stickers that say FREE TIBET. Sure Tibet should be free, but for me that particular one has become way too fashionable or "cool" (see below). Rolling along in your Volvo with FREE TIBET equates to saying "Look Tibet is screwed, and I wish they would be free because the Dalai Lama is a 'cool' dude, and I so want to visit the place and get some prayer flags, but I have a mani-pedi I have to bust out in 15 minutes." You can't free Tibet from your Volvo 760 Turbo. Another crowd-pleaser is SAVE MONO LAKE. That's a classic and it runs in the same circle as FREE TIBET. You can't save Mono Lake if you are behind the wheel of a, well, Volvo 760 Turbo. So bumper stickers are exactly that, stickers. A vanity plate in a sticky form that eventually wears out and is replaced by an even better one that says "My kid is student of the month at Mono Lake's Tibetan academy." I have no answer for that one.

This brings me to the whole concept of cool. Inside I laugh when people say this or that is "cool." What makes it cool? What's cool to you may be lame to me. I am guilty of it often after I meet someone: "That guy seems pretty cool," I say. Am I cool? If he seems cool and I indeed think I am cool what will bring him up to the level of coolness I apparently am at? At the same time, this guy I think "seems cool" may think I seem cool, or he may just think I'm a dick. It's a discussion that is best had in your own mind. That is if it's a cool enough subject to ponder.