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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notes: Sometimes, we have too much on our plates

July 06. 2014 10:04PM

Pity the poor people at the state Department of Motor Vehicles who have to make decisions on vanity license plates.

They have always done so, but when they turned down a plate that said “COPSLIE,’’ the state supreme court justices helpfully said the DMV standards of “good taste’’ and being reasonable were just too vague.

I suggested that the DMV just turn over the plate-clearing duty to the justices since it is sure as shooting that some of the plates will end up back before the court, now that the court has opened that gate. But the DMV said last week it has come up with new rules.

They ban “obscenities, references to certain body parts, sexual acts, illegal activities, drugs, gangs or bigotry in any language, forward, backwards, mirror image or by phonetic spelling.’’

The DMV said it would try out these new rules for a few months and see how they work out. To be helpful, here are a few plates DMV may want to ponder. After all, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

“SMOKING’’ is illegal in much of New Hampshire these days.

“PETTING’’ can lead to all kinds of trouble, including “1STBASE.’’

“WHITEY’’ doesn’t sit well with some groups.

“TOKEN’’ might get you in trouble in all kinds of ways, i.e., “What you token there, son?’’

I’m sure the DMV knows the “CRIPS’’ from the “BLOODS,’’ but what about the “180’’ boys?

I’m guessing “RDSKINS’’ doesn’t have a shot; and even before Target stores asked customers not to be “PACKING’’ in their shops, “TARGET’’ might have been tagged.

Seinfeld fans may not be amused if DMV nixes “MULVA.’’ Then again, Democrats may still find “NIXON’’ obscene.

If I heard correctly, the new rules will be radioactive. Or maybe it was “retroactive.’’ The radio had some static going. And since the Legislature, in its wisdom, banned the public from finding out who has what license plate (even though these are public licenses for use on public roadways), I don’t know if “ECSTASY’’ has been issued. But it could be retracted under either the obscenity, drugs, or illegal activities rule.

And I wonder if there will still be a “POT’’ to call a kettle “BLACK’’ on our highways.

I am considering applying for a vanity plate myself. Hey, DMV, is “SENILE’’ OK, or should I go with “OLDCOOT”?

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter @Deucecrew.

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