A Glorious Event!

Column by Paul Hein.

Exclusive to STR

Day after day I’ve trudged to the mailbox, heart in my mouth. Yes, I know: I wasn’t allowing enough time since my application. But today--today!--they arrived.

I knew as soon as I saw the envelope with the return address: Missouri Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Department. My hands trembled as I ripped it open--and there they were: glorious yellow, highly reflective, measuring about one by one and a half inches each, with my license number printed thereon.

Reverently, I peeled them from their card and applied them to my license plates, front and rear. A gorgeous sight! Yes, they cost $55.50, but cost be damned! Now I could operate my car with the full approval of whoever it was that sold me the lovely stickers. I can’t bring myself to think of what might have happened if I had attempted to operate the vehicle without those golden embellishments! An act of terrorism, without doubt!

Forgive me for pointing out, with what I hope is pardonable pride, that not just anybody is privileged to buy such stickers--no siree! To qualify for sticker purchase, there are requirements to be met. I had to prove to the sticker-vendors that I had up-to-date insurance (approximately $697.00), that the car’s emissions ($24.00 for the test, but who could deny its benefits?) were as pure as a baby’s breath (maybe purer!) and, most importantly, that I had, for the years 2011 and 2012, taken advantage of the opportunity to send $1,659.07 to a person designated as the “assessor” in return for the privilege of owning my automobiles--the other one of which had similar golden adornments on its license plates. And now, after the almost negligible cost of licensing myself, I’m fit to go!

My neighbor is a bona-fide grouch. Seeing me attaching my beautiful stickers, he felt obliged to make a snide remark. “If the car is really yours, why do you have to pay strangers to drive it?” I could hardly believe what I was hearing! How could anyone living in our advanced society question the obvious necessity for the license plates, stickers, and drivers’ licenses? Does my neighbor live in a cave or something? With as much dignity as I could muster, I replied, in the words of the eminent Justice Holmes: “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society!” The oaf actually laughed! “Taxes are the price we pay to support a den of thieves,” he said. Right out loud, for Pete’s sake! My voice shook with emotion as I reminded him that our taxes pay for our great highway system. “No,” he said, “gasoline taxes pay for them. And bonds that will be repaid with depreciated money. Other people’s money. And the highways are falling apart.”

Well, how can you argue with someone like that? Thank God he’s in the minority! Most Americans, I am sure, share my feelings of gratitude that we live in a country whose rulers have our interests at heart, and will stop at nothing to make our lives serene and peaceful according to their prudent plans for us, including providing us with license plates for our cars, and colorful stickers yearly to adorn them. And, if that weren’t enough, they allow us to keep some of what we earn (what my foolish neighbor would claim is ours!) to spend on amusements, provided, of course, that they do not include certain forbidden plants, or too much ethanol, or travel to certain nations our rulers find objectionable.

I hope you do not think me smug when I proclaim that I am a good citizen, and proud of it! Excuse me while I run up the flag and sing the National Anthem.

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Paul Hein's picture
Columns on STR: 150


Paul's picture

Paul, I can fully appreciate your sarcastic tone in this article. I too feel great pride and reverence when applying the colorful stickers to my plates. Fortunately my state charges a lot less for the privilege to do so ($1,659.07, ouch!) - more like a hundred dollars.

Wife bought a new car recently, a Porsche. The dealer asked if we wanted them to drill holes in the bumper to hold the plate. Confused, I asked him if I had a choice (Oregon is not a state with optional front plates). He said legally no, but that some of his customers nevertheless insisted their bumpers not have holes drilled in them, and they just took their chances. I thought we'd give that a try. After all, one gets to the stage where obedience is no longer automatic. The older I get, the less I give a shit about what legiscritters want.

For your amusement, "The License Plate War":

Jim Davies's picture

When they get laughed at, their fate is sealed. A very nice one, Paul Hein.

PaulTheCabDriver's picture

Paul, you people in Missouri are so damned lucky! You get colored decals to put on YOUR license plates. And you get TWO license plates too: One for the back and one for the front. Out here in Arizona, we only get one measly license plate. And it's not even embossed. The letters on it are just printed on a flat plate! And we don't get color stickers either. Ours are black and white. It sucks I tell you. I want my money back!

Glock27's picture

Ha. You legal eagles. I have a son 37 years old who has been driving around all over the state with an an expired, plate, expired tag,no registration and not proof of insurance. Why he has not been stopped yet is beyond me. If it were me I would be caught the first day. He has been driving this way now for two years.

Glock27's picture

Oh, P.S. His drivers licenses is expired also.