Life, The Universe, and Jerseys

My adult goal was to get a vanity plate.

The opportunity presented itself when we purchased a new family car four-and-a-half years ago. Granted, the “car” was really a minivan. I had wanted my long sought-after custom license plates on a lifted pickup truck or a sports car. But beggars can’t be choosers, especially on our budget.

On the DMV’s online form, I entered three choices in order of preference. The second was HHG2G; the third was Desiato (because the van is black).

The day the plates arrived was seminal for me; I opened the envelope and saw they’d agreed to my first choice! Ecstatically, I removed the dealer-assigned ones from their screws and hung my beautiful replacements in their place. Soon enough, I drove out onto public roads and parked at public grocery stores. I felt conspicuous, but proud.

A few days later, in a parking lot, I noticed a fellow patron checking out the front of my momvan. I geared up for his inevitable question and what my happy answer would be.

“So, is that a sports jersey?” He asked. “Whose number is that?”

Flabbergasted, I did the only logical thing a non-sports-watching nerd of my caliber could do. I corrected him. “No, no. It’s from a book.”


I should have noticed the loss of interest. But I didn’t. “Yeah, it’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything.”


He wasn’t the first. Thanks to my fancy vanity plates, I’ve since learned that they do represent Jackie Robinson’s number. The internet says that (as of this posting) 163 NBA and ABA players have had it. So that’s cool.

I don’t get asked about my choice frequently, mostly because people don’t talk to each other the way they used to. Exactly two strangers of those who asked have heard of the book my plates are from; most others assume sports origins.

Slowly over time, I’ve forgotten the magic. I simply drive, and forget how much I might stand out with such a short insignia on my front and back bumpers.

Today, stopped at the end of a freeway offramp, I happened to look out the passenger window. An older man was pointing his finger in an upwards gesture. Since it was his index finger, I assumed good intentions and rolled down said window.

“What’s the 42 stand for?” He called. He was smiling in a friendly manner.

A split second’s thought didn’t save me. “It’s from a book,” I yelled back. “It’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything.”

His pleasant expression lessened a bit. “Oh. Okay!”

The light changed. I rolled the window back up, and off we drove.

I know I ought to just give up. When an interested party asks, I ought to say, “It’s Jackie Robinson’s number, of course. I love sports! I sports so hard; don’t you?” A part of me just can’t. It’s a small, stubborn part; but it just can’t let the literary decline of America be somebody else’s problem.

Blue Car Edited


30 thoughts on “Life, The Universe, and Jerseys

  1. howikilledbetty June 24, 2018 / 12:19 am

    Brilliant! We have a real thing in the U.K. for personalised number plates and the shorter the better, particularly in London and wow they can be expensive too! Great post! Katie x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chelsea Owens June 24, 2018 / 12:42 am

      Thanks! Sounds like I need to move to London, though I’m certain “42” is taken already.

      Liked by 1 person

      • howikilledbetty June 24, 2018 / 12:59 am

        Oooh yes! Move here … although our weather is a bit grim in winter … too much rain for my liking!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chelsea Owens June 24, 2018 / 7:16 am

          I’ll save and settle on a visit.
          …when it’s not raining. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • howikilledbetty June 25, 2018 / 2:11 am

            Good idea! And definitely don’t go to Scotland … if it’s not raining, it’s about to rain!

            Liked by 1 person

    • Bladud Fleas June 24, 2018 / 2:13 am

      It’s so expensive here they say it’s cheaper to change your name legally to match whatever the plate says. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens June 24, 2018 / 7:15 am

      Or it’s perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone has that. 🙂


    • Chelsea Owens June 25, 2018 / 7:36 am

      *sigh* I guess they’re still searching.


  2. Marissa A Vellinga June 25, 2018 / 7:45 am

    The second I read your second and third choice I knew what your first choice plate was. I love it, and the whole rest of your post made me grin. Wear it with pride, and don’t give up telling people where it’s really from!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. S. Chersis June 25, 2018 / 2:57 pm

    Definitely keep telling others it’s a book. One day you’ll find somebody who understands!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens June 25, 2018 / 3:13 pm

      🙂 All right. I’ll do it for the one out of twenty who’ll listen.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Chelsea July 1, 2018 / 11:57 pm

    I knew exactly what you were talking about the moment you were describing it. It is sad that so many people do not or do not care. You are among friends though. Don’t forget to bring your towel 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens July 2, 2018 / 12:20 am

      ❤ I feel so great hearing that! And, from someone who shares my name, too.
      Besides keeping a towel in the back, I really want to get a license plate holder that says, "Beware of the leopard."


      • Chelsea July 2, 2018 / 12:32 am

        Haha that would be excellent. I was not so creative. My license plate cover on my new minivan says: Writer’s inspiration comes from all of you. I have had stickers of the TARDIS and other things on my car before, but it always seems like it gets cluttered so quickly.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chelsea Owens July 2, 2018 / 1:12 am

          🙂 We never do stickers. I DO like a lot of them, though, like TARDIS references. I like your inspirational one!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Chelsea July 2, 2018 / 12:53 pm

            Thanks 🙂 I am thinking of getting vanity plate that reads “Author” (or some version of) once I get my first book published and a few sold 🙂 Though, yours makes me wonder if that is too simple.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chelsea Owens July 2, 2018 / 1:13 pm

              How about “literary genius and author extraordinaire” ?


              • Chelsea July 2, 2018 / 1:14 pm

                Haha a bit long, and not sure I would be able to hold that one up. But thank you for the praise.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Chelsea Owens July 2, 2018 / 1:52 pm

                  Oh sure. There’s always abbreviating. 😉


                • Chelsea July 2, 2018 / 1:52 pm

                  Ya, trying to figure out how to make it still make sense

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Chelsea July 2, 2018 / 6:39 pm

                  Lol good ideas. I will put them down as possibilities for when I get to that point. So far i still need to WRITE the book🤣

                  Liked by 1 person

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