I’ve been thinking about Vanity Plates, (or “Private Number Plates” as they’re
known in the UK). You know those car license plates that say something like “2 5tup1d”, or something equally inane. They often refer to the owners supposed sexual prowess. These plates can cost a lot of money, often more than the cost of the car itself.
I would like to bring some Buddhist compassion to people who buy these plates. They must be in a very sorrowful place to feel the need to advertise their concerns about their lack of taste / lack of style / lack of sexual fulfilment so publicly. Clearly, these people are unable to find happiness by spending their money on anything other than a very public statement about their deficiencies. These are people who need our help. As good humanitarians we should extend a helping hand to them, (and those of us with Buddhist leanings should always try to see the inner beauty of people who buy Vanity Plates). So, I have devised a 5 point plan for helping them to realise the path to happiness.
5 Point Plan for the Vanity Inflicted:
1. Share your worries with loved ones only.
Communicate intimacy only with those with whom you are supposed to commune. If you do not commune with anyone then those vanity plates are probably the cause of your lack of communing. Don’t worry, communing is not a form of Communism, it’s just called love & happiness in the 21st Century.
2. Sell your vanity plate & then sell your car.
Start to ride a bike. Pedal or Motor varieties will suffice. Nobody likes your vanity plates, not even other people with vanity plates. Everybody likes people who ride bikes, some people only like pedal cyclists, some only like motorcyclists, some like both. Nobody initially likes a person with vanity plates.
3. Don’t go to Tanning Salons, or engage in Dieting Plans.
Tanning Salons & Diet Plans are the corporeal equivalent of vanity plates. They’re a displacement for your inner fears. A tan is a good thing, you can get it for free, all you have do is step outside into the sunshine. You may even meet other people who are also following the 5 Point Plan for the Vanity Inflicted. A Diet Plan is just another way of wasting even more money on labels. Don’t buy a pre-concoction labeled ‘fruit shake’, just eat some fruit. It’s cheaper, and you dodge the chemicals. The label is not the thing, the reality is the thing (ergo vanity plate, ergo diet plan).
4. Don’t read beauty magazines, or car magazines.
Your vanity plates didn’t make you more alluring. Beauty magazines will only make you feel even less alluring, more worthless, and you will spend even more money after reading them. Car magazines will just tell you that you bought the wrong model car. Remember, you don’t need a car anymore, because you now ride a bike. You don’t need anymore make-up cosmetics because the real you is beautiful.
5. Become a Buddhist Meditator / Yogic Dhammic Guru.
So, you’ve sold the plate & the car. You’ve eschewed the lifestyle crutch magazines, and your local tanning salon is going out of business. What next ? Well, you know happiness can only be found from within. There’s an amazing way of finding that happiness, it’s neither exclusive nor expensive, however the results are absolutely amazing. Try some meditative internal focus, think about breathing and internal states. Join a yoga class, and stick at it. I did, and will never look back.
I think that those Vanity Plates are a public ego-defence mechanism. Some of them are repression or sublimation, many of them are reaction-formation, and some of them are just pure denial. Here, in Thailand, I see guys wearing t-shirts with slogans such as “FBI: Female Body Inspector”, or “No Money, No Honey”. Really !? Do you have to display your inner inadequacies so publicly ? Surely, in our commodity rich world we can find a way to help you. Those t-shirts are just like the Vanity Plates, except the t-shirts are cheaper on tax, parking & MOT.
Some people’s Vanity Plates are on their car, but some people have put their plates on their faces as cosmetics, others have positioned it as ‘property investment’, and many of us have it in educational or career credentials. Wherever we hang them, we should all try to take off our vanity plates.
I don’t own a car, I do ride a bike. I’ve never been to a tanning salon, I’m just genetically blessed. I can’t afford vanity plates. However, I do have a thrill when reading my stats on WordPress.
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