Simple Surprise

I have been driving around without a front license plate since November. Fortunately, my Town and Country is as close to an invisible car as man has yet invented. I drove a classic Mustang for some time in my younger days and even then it was always noticed. “I used to have one of those;” “Nice car;” and an occasional challenge to a drag race were common occurrences. Not so with my minivan. It is not a vehicle that usually attracts police attention and the rest of the public don’t really notice them either.

No matter how bland my van is it was only a matter of time until I got to chat with officer friendly so it was time to install that license plate.

I didn’t want that chat that always begins with, “Do you know why I stopped you.” That is about as loaded a question as you can ever get asked and an ingenious invention on the part of a District Attorney somewhere. Whatever you admit to is an automatic confession recorded on tape. “Why yes, officer you stopped me because I was speeding in a school zone, have a broken headlight, have two outstanding warrants, and 10 pounds of cocaine in the trunk.”

Yes, I respect the police. They are indeed a thin blue line that holds back anarchy. Think about it, call them and five to ten minutes from the call they arrive ready to help you out of a very bad situation. I’ve seen them haul away rowdy neighbors, stop insane drivers, break up fights, and stand inches away from high-speed traffic to bring law and order. They are the real life tough guys that stand up to the criminals and take them down. That is serving and protecting and they need to be paid a lot more than they are.  So… Respect the police. Yes, I do. Trust the police. No. I’ve known too many police to trust them. The USA’s police don’t have the rampant corruption that Mexico embodies but corruption certainly exists and the justice system is seriously flawed.

The one officer that really stands out to me is the poor guy I saw one day in Florence, Alabama. Alabama has some nasty thunderstorms and this one was a standout even by Alabama’s standards. The clouds were so thick it was almost dark at midday, the wind was shaking the trees, the rain was so heavy that you could barely see to drive, and the lightening was lighting up the midday darkness every few minutes with accompanying thunder that shook windows. This guy was standing in the middle of a large intersection taking the place of the traffic signal that the storm had knocked out. To stand there braving rain, wind-tossed debris, red necks in 4 x 4 pickup trucks, and lightening was true courage. That guy seriously needed a raise.

But I digress… I expected a fairly difficult install possibly with bolts, dropped hardware, and a serious challenge to my commitment to a clean vocabulary.

The install could not have been simpler. Upon close examination, it became clear that the bumper is basically a big chunk of impact absorbing plastic. The folks at Chrysler made it easy by putting two divots at just the right spot in the bumper. I drilled two small pilot holes in the center of the divots with a cordless drill and a 5/64″ drill bit, lined the plate up, and installed the screws with a plain old slotted screwdriver.


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