I made my yearly pilgrimage to the Minnehaha County Courthouse today to pick up license plates. This year the trip was a memorable one for three reasons.

Reason number 1. New plates for the state of South Dakota. I don't know if I like or dislike. Doesn't matter, I doubt I'll move to Georgia just because I want a peach on my plate.

Reason number 2. Interesting conversation. Most of the time, I don't want to hear anything other than how much is it going to cost and have a nice day. Today was different. The guy at the counter said:

I noticed you drive an Impala. For just a few more dollars you could get personalized plates. You could get VLAD for your plates.

I was a bit dazed so I asked him to explain, SLOWLY what the heck he was talking about. He told me the story, but to make typing easier I'll let Wikipedia explain.

His Romanian patronymicDragwlya (or Dragkwlya)[3]Dragulea, Dragolea, Drăculea,[4][5] is a diminutive of the epithetDracul carried by his father Vlad II, who in 1431 was inducted as a member of the Order of the Dragon, a chivalric order founded by Emperor Sigismund in 1408. Dracul is the Romanian definite form, the -ul being the suffixal definite article (deriving from Latin ille). The noun drac "dragon" itself continues Latin draco. In Modern Romanian, the word drac has adopted the meaning of "devil" (the term for "dragon" now being balaur or dragon).


This has led to misinterpretations of Vlad's epithet as characterizing him as "devilish".

Vlad's nickname of Țepeș ("Impaler") identifies his favourite method of execution but was only attached to his name posthumously, in c. 1550.[3] Before this, however, he was known as Kaziklu Beg or Kaziklı Voyvoda (both meaning : Impaler Lord) by the Ottoman Empire after their armies encountered his "forests" of impaled victims.[6]

The guy said, in California and almost every other state the plate VLAD is taken and it's always put on an Impala.

I gave it some thought. Decided that it's probably not my style so I passed. Shout out to other Impala owners getting plates this year. If you're interested in VLAD, just ask.

Reason Number 3.  The most important thing about my trip to the Courthouse today, was the best surprise of my year so far.


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