Over the last year, TSG has spent a significant amount of time examining the kooky, quirky, and often salacious number and letter combinations that appear on automobile license plates nationwide. We've published "red lists" of banned plates from Florida and New York. We've run letters from snoops in Wisconsin and Washington taking issue with supposedly offensive plates they've spotted on the road. We've learned that the letter/number combination H8 should always raise an eyebrow, and that a rear view mirror (see 3MTA3) can be a Department of Motor Vehicle censor's best friend.
So, after all this important scholarship, we feel eminently qualified to present the 2001 License Plate of the Year Award to the Florida tag A55RGY, which is pictured below. What we really love about this handle is that, unlike other nominees, it is not a vanity plate some miscreant slipped past motor vehicle officials. No, Florida DMV records show, our award goes to a tag that was an act of serendipity, the random product of a computer program running in the agency's Tallahassee headquarters.
Thanks to a font where a "5" looks awfully like an "S," and the strategic placement of an orange (which can double as an "O") in the center of the plate, A55RGY can easily be interpreted by impure minds to be ASSORGY.
When TSG researched the tag's history, we learned the plate graces a 2000 Lincoln registered to Pygmy Computer Systems, a Miami company specializing in portable computing devices. Mark Geigel, Pygmy's president and driver of the gold A55RGY-mobile, said in an e-mail interview that he did not think his "stock issue plate" was such a big deal. Pictures of the backside of Geigel's Lincoln LS have appeared across the Internet--on sites like Ernie's House of Whoopass--for the better part of a year. "Seems the Florida computer license plate screening algorithm needs a little work," said Geigel. "I guess their computer never takes into account the effect of that big orange in the middle of the plate."
Geigel should hold his head high, knowing that the back bumper of his company ride has brought joy to thousands. We hope he doesn't consider switching tags for one of those popular Sunshine State specialty plates with a manatee or a panther in the middle. That would be a shame.