Early afternoon northbound on I-16 leaving Pooler, crossing Bloomingdale city limit.  Heavy beach traffic heading home and I’m at 75 in a 70mph zone passing two larger camping trailers pulled by Ford 250s from Bradley Co., TN.  I’m an inveterate license plate watcher when traveling, have been since I was old enough to read.  

There’s a new white Mercedes in my rear view. Actually, the young woman driving was close enough to draft the way Junior does Stewart at Bristol.  Once past the Tennessee caravan, I moved to the right-hand-for-slower traffic lane and she buzzed by as if I were in reverse.  Her vanity plate read, “I DO OK.”  An metro ATL county tag.

Love vanity plates for two reasons.  One is passing time trying to decipher the meaning.  Two of my favorites from CA — I HZ I: HZ is the symbol for Hertz, as in kilo-, mega-, giga- and tera-.  Between the eyes.  A neurologist, if memory serves.  One of my best friends, Bill, told me about a Bay area play MSAGRO . . . .  CA has both front and back plates, so when the car comes up behind you, it’s reversed in your mirror.  I personally verified this plate the last time I was at the CA DMV.  There’s an office which screens vanity plates, but as the DMV officer noted, sometimes one slips through.  

My wife has a vanity plate: TN PHUD (as in Elmer pronunciation-wise).  Not everyone knows that’s the acronym for a doctorate, which she obtained from Tennessee.  My last CA vanity plate was ENICKMA . . .    since I’m a Nick and an enigma to many but my best friends. 

“I DO OK.”  And she was gone.  Probably mid-to-late 20s.  Brunette.  Hair in a ponytail on top of the back of her head.  Nicely dressed, meaning not a tee-shirt or tank top, but an off-dinge blouse.  

In my book, a new Mercedes is more than doing OK.  Musing, I wonder about whether “I DO OK” means that she’s getting by, making car payments, on-time with rent, has money for vacation destinations many of us only see on the travel channels. Single?  Probably.  Graduate degree.  Law?  Or is “I DO OK’ a  wry understatement?  In the 60s, the sticker would have been “Whoever dies with the most toys wins.”  

Or is “I DO OK” less about materialism and more about life?  

Other cars with vanity plates pass and are passed.  Don’t remember what they said.  

“I DO OK.”  That one sticks.   


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