Vanity license plates are cool. I remember how jealous I was of the girl with the white Volkswagen Rabbit convertible (predecessor to the Jetta) with the “ANTMUSIC” plate that drove around Orange County. Of course, I needed a car to have a vanity plate, and without a car (I had no car in high school) what’s the point of a vanity plate? It’s such a vicious circle.

I now have a vanity plate thanks to my darling Clare. Since it takes roughly 7 to 12 weeks to get the plate, she has already been gone nearly three months. I’m sure she’s looking down from Heaven and sees and feels my elation, although there is a slight hollow texture to the elation. Then that hollowness goes away because I own this plate for the rest of my life, and Clare was the one who got the plate for me. So it’s such a happy circle.

The plate reads “SSENDAM.” Is this some odd Moonman word for “anaerobic living is the only way to live” or the album title from some Upper Lower Slobovia boyband? The second option is closer to the mark.

“SSENDAM” is “MADNESS” spelled backwards. I often told Clare I’d love a vanity plate that meant something important to my life, but I didn’t want it to be obvious and give away too much about me to the girl with the white Volkswagen Rabbit convertible (predecessor to the Jetta) with the “ANTMUSIC” plate sitting behind me at the light. Ha! Who reeks of envy now! It’s a satisfying delayed Schadenfreude circle.

MADNESS has a dual meaning my life. For one, Madness is one of my favorite bands ever and while they only had one top ten in the US o A (Our House), they are beloved pretty much everywhere else. Examples: They played atop Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and played the Closing Ceremonies of the London Olympics. Videos to follow.

For two, I have bioplar, PTSD, anxiety, schizoaffective disorder, etc., that if you were to skip back past the DSM V to the eugenics-happy turn of the 20th century medical texts, I would have been diagnosed instead as being “feeble-minded”, a “Deviant”, and/or “afflicted with Madness.”

A clever dual meaning covertly on the tail end of Ruby, thanks to the thoughtfulness and love of Clare. Among all her beautiful qualities, that she took the time to listen to what is important to me – stuff others tune out as meandering babbling – is a HUGE reason I miss her as badly as I do.  Aside from my Mum and perhaps Natalie back in high school, nobody really “got me” the way Clare did. I miss that, and I miss her.

Thanks for the excellent birthday present, Clare. You’re the best.

So here’s a bunch of videos from YouTube for you to fill in some of the blanks in terms of goofy pop culture exposition.

By the by, I’ve got microcams on Ruby, similar to the APD lapel cams, only much better resolution. I’d love to introduce you to my pals at APD and MDC. Just sayin’, lovingly shared with the folks who just can’t seem to get past getting past stuff that concerns them not.