By Martin J. Kidston
Whats blue and white and will soon be all over the state?
Montanas new license plates thats what.
Ever since the design committee presented the latest metal markers for our cars and trucks, a wave of vanity has swept across Big Sky Country like a tsunami over Kansas ironically out of place.
Replacing the multi-colored sunset for a simple blue, and the word Montana with that other key word, Montana, has provoked a surprising ruckus that waves a yellow flag of egotism from Idaho to the Dakotas.
In recent weeks, license plates have been elevated to the status of traveling billboards which, through their flashy colors and graphic designs, are supposed to advertise the state.
Ive given this careful consideration over the past two weeks and have come to the conclusion that license plates are not billboards, but rather, they are simple tools of identification that do not add or subtract to the appeal of Montana, nor to the appearance of ones car.
Listening to the arguments, they seem to revolve around what other states have, resulting in we should have that, too. Ironically, those states with the flashiest license plates or billboards are perhaps the ones that need to advertise their attractions the most.
Montana doesnt fall into this category.
But really, this isnt about what other states have. Its about vanity and the look-at-me arrogance that rises when the color and design of a piece of tin becomes paramount to our existence. It bears a subtle reminder of the time I drank Pepsi instead of Sprite because everyone else did and consequently, if I did, I thought I would be socially accepted.
Perhaps, following this image is nothing, thirst is everything slogan, one could currently surmise that image is everything, just look at my plate.
By the way, have you seen that car from Wyoming? It looked pretty good with that bronc rider attached to the bumper down there on the back.
Really, it did what an image.
And Ill never forget my trip to Hawaii, that place it had really colorful plates.
Meanwhile, the population of India will reach one billion people by the end of the year. But lets talk more about our license plates. After all, we have to look good when we drive.
Lets talk about what everyone else has so we can follow their example instead of setting our own.
Lets talk about Pennsylvania with its tricolored hunks of tin, or Washington with its snowcapped mountain. After all, each state is the sum of its license plate, and each driver therein can really turn some heads while sporting the latest tag.
Consequently, if I move to Wyoming, maybe I, too, can get one of those really hip plates. I can bolt it on the back of a Pinto and show it as I pass through town with a Pepsi in my hand, looking good like everyone else.