My brother, sister, and I used to play the alphabet game during car rides. I would always get nervous when I got to a letter of the alphabet that wasn’t that easy to find.
If our trip took us to New Jersey, I knew I could wait until we were there to find my “J”. Same with “Q”, which I knew I would find there as well, just across the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, where the many liquor stores provided me with the quick jolt I needed to sustain me during the last leg of my alphabet journey. “X” was difficult unless we were on the turnpike (Esso wasn’t Exxon yet), where one of the many exit signs was sure to satisfy. And “Z”, well, by that point I’d be in full desperate competitive mode, complete with stomach ache, cursing the fact that we didn’t live in Arizona.
I used to think, “When I grow up and have my own car, I’m going to get a license plate that will help other kids with this game! I’ll have only all of the hard letters on the license plate!” I would imagine this beautiful shining license plate on the back of my gorgeous red Camaro. “JQXZ! Jack Quixiz!”
I worried, however, that those kids wouldn’t be able to take advantage of all of the letters on my special license plate, because their parents’ car probably wouldn’t be behind mine long enough to make the trip from J to Q to X to Z. “But if I can help them with at least one of those letters,” I decided, “that would be nice too.” See how considerate I was of the children of the future?
Looking back, I realize I was a very forward-thinking kid. After all, this was before “vanity” license plates came into existence. And then, when I was old enough to drive and vanity plates became all the rage, I regarded them with the disdain they deserved and just took what the keystone state of Pennsylvania gave me.
Kids today don’t have it as tough, though. “X” can be found everywhere, thanks to these X-Men movies. Any suburb will supply “J”s aplenty courtesy of Jiffy Lube. And the good people who came up with the name Quizno’s … well, I don’t know about the food they serve, but I sure know they’ve done children a great service otherwise.
Oh, but kids these days won’t appreciate what kids of my generation had to go through. Everything is handed to them on a plate (but not my license plate). Everything for them is just so E-Z. They don’t appreciate jack quixiz.