Jowo’s Loony Plate

Pony at Six Months

Bought this plate when I renewed my registration in February of 2004. The old (blue) plate also said JOWO, which shouldn’t surprise you.

My brother’s reaction to this plate–“You always said you don’t like the funny plates”–deserves some comment. The main purpose of a license plate is to identify the vehicle. Decorative plates do not help with this mission, though some of them (Kansas comes to mind) are very attractive. But the proliferation of fundraising and other specialty plates throughout the country interferes with the job of the traffic cop, as it complicates identification. Between the truly odd-looking plates some states are now issuing and the variety of letter/number combinations necessary to keep the various series straight for inventory purposes, just keeping track of the local license designs has become difficult, and recognizing foreign plates has become more work than law enforcement needs.

Nonetheless, I like the Loon plates, and I’m happy to contribute to the conservation cause the plate supports. So I bought one. Guilty.

On Being Jowo

Richard called me Jowo before he figured out Joel. That nickname never completely died, and came back permanently in 1972 when Debbie and I worked in a political campaign office where seven people answered to Joe. (Or Jo–two were Mary Jo.) Debbie taped a sign above our desk identifying me as Jowo. It stuck.

Edit 3/10/2011: This is not the original photograph….

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