May 16, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

I Have Seen The Worst Vanity Plate

2 min read

This is not it.

This is not it.
Photo: Getty Images (Getty Images)

Tesla might have left California for Texas, but California is still very much Tesla’s symbolic headquarters, with almost half of U.S. Teslas registered there, and, as such, there are lots of Elon Musk superfans here. California also has lots of vanity plates, I have learned. I have also learned that the two things are a dangerous mix.

Now, Getty Images has photographic evidence from 2014 of a California vanity plate that reads THX ELON, which is bad but not a crime against humanity or anything. Two years before that, this very website compiled a list of ten terrible vanity plates from California and other states, all of which are bad in their own ways.

You could argue, if you wanted, that all vanity plates are bad, or, at the very least, silly at best and trashy at worst. That was my position, too, for many years, until I achieved a more refined maturity. People, after all, should do what makes them happiest, and for some people that means getting a vanity plate that says MYCADDY or VETTE69 or MIATAMOM or some other non-racist, non-offensive combination of numbers and letters that is in good fun.

It is no different than a bumper sticker, really, in that we can agree that it’s very exciting that your kid is on the honor roll.

And yet, the other day, I was driving in Los Angeles, and I came upon a Tesla Model S, which is a normal occurrence in these parts, except then I looked at the license plate and almost gasped and said to no one in particular that, “That is the worst license plate I’ve ever seen,” because it was. The plate read ILVMUSK, and while it’s possible that the owner is simply a big fan of perfume, I doubt it.

ILVMUSK is a simple but powerful combination of earnest horniness, while conveying information that is already self-evident. It also made me wonder what Elon smells like, which is not a thought exercise I recommend. There is a bigness and finality to it, like getting a back tattoo of a phoenix. To my lasting regret, I did not get a photo before the Model S moved on, but I know what I saw, like seeing the face of god.

Anyway, if you’re thinking about getting a vanity plate, just go ahead and get one. It’s probably not possible for it to be worse.