Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Car Tag

The Merry Pranksters

I'm looking for a word or phrase that evokes a free-wheelin' non-conformist spirit of adventure, a rejection of society's conventions on wheels - the type of spirit that propelled Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty down the highway in the book "On the Road" --that sent the Merry Pranksters merrily across the country in 1964 in their 1939 International Harvester psychedelic-painted school bus.

This is the spirit I want to channel when I drive, the spirit of gypsies and hobos and the open road. This is the fantasy of freedom that I, as a motorist, licensed in the state of Kansas, want to indulge in. To properly register my car for this purpose, I am going to get a license plate with a word or phrase that expresses this freedom. It's hard, though. The DMV will only give me seven letters or numbers to make this statement to the world.

To help in my brain-storming for the right car tag, I've been doing a little research. Did you know that Neal Cassady, one of the original Beats in the 50's, and the inspiration for the character Dean Moriarty in "On the Road," hung out with the hippies in the 60's, and became the driver of the Merry Pranksters' bus?

Robert Stone said of him: He was "the world's greatest driver, who could roll a joint while backing a 1937 Packard onto the lip of the Grand Canyon". 

Cassady's post-Beat years bear a striking contrast to those of Jack Kerouac's. While Cassady was out joyriding with his happy band of long-hairs, Kerouac was at home, being all curmudgeonly and conservative,  refusing to join the Pranksters. The bus stopped at Kerouac's en route for a visit, and reportedly it did not go well.

Now the Pranksters had a name for their bus. They called it "Further" and it just so happens that "Further" is exactly seven letters. So I'm giving that word some serious thought. If I put "Further" on my car tag, I think maybe I can summon the spirit of Cassady and the Pranksters to join me behind the wheel.

There is a world of possibilities for what could go on my tag. What plagues me is knowing there may be some choice word out there I haven't thought of. So I'm soliciting ideas. If you think of anything, let me know. Post it in a comment below. As you can see from my last brainstorming session (below), it doesn't have to be brilliant.

TRIPPIN
VAGBOND
HIPHOBO
KSGYPSY
RAILHPR  (Rail Hopper) No, I'm not really jumping freights, but it has a nice ring to it.
RAMBLIN
RAMBLER
ROAMIN
WANDRIN
HOTRIDE
LESS GO
Forget ROADTRP and ONTHERD ---those are already taken.

The word doesn't even have to have anything to do with travel. It could just be random words that are cool, like these words I like just because:  

MAYHEM
MADCAP
HOODANG
HOOHAW
GOLLY G
HELLYEAH
UR HERE
IMWLRUS
FABLOUS
WHOMP
BOING
WOOEE
RUMPUS
OMMMM
QUASAR
NEBULA
VORTICE
FRKFLAG
NODOGMA

What else?

8 comments:

  1. Outer Space AlienMarch 29, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    WARPDRV

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  2. Nice contribution, Outer Space Alien. I like it!

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  3. I like the 2nd list the best. Esp. Madcap, Mayhem, and Boing. Warpdrv is also good.
    Great lists!

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  4. Loved your lists! But "hotride" may not be a good idea. The second list is funnier, so many great choices!

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  5. Thanks for those contributing ideas. Come on, think of some more.

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  6. My plate is EEEK...but that is only because YIKES was taken.
    An expression of what I experience every single day of my life on the highways and byways of Metro Detroit.
    H. B.

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  7. here's my list:
    RDGDESS
    LBOHEME
    BALONEY
    TUMBLIN
    SHIMONY
    OUTHERE
    FREEBRD

    i like UR HERE and FABLOUS. i also vote against HOTRIDE...maybe if u had a convertible....

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