Last August, my region got hit pretty hard by Tropical Storm Irene.
A lot of towns were devastated, bridges and homes washed away. I sat in my townhouse and wrote a post about people getting all excited over nothing because I had no idea that just a few miles away everything was flooded. Or gone.
The effects of the storm have been long-lasting. Stores in the local shopping centers just re-opened a month or so ago and people are still unable to return to their homes due to mold and damage.
It was, and is, a big deal.
If there was any silver lining, it’s that people came out to help. Almost immediately, neighbors were delivering food, offering shelter. The local nonprofits started relief programs instantly and people donated to them.
It makes you feel a bit better about humanity.
Then someone somewhere, I’m guessing in the state government, decided to sell these “Vermont Strong” license plates for $25 each.
For some completely irrational reason these plates irritate me. Really, really irritate me. (Apologies if you have one but I did say it was irrational, after all.)
Sure, the “net proceeds” go to long term disaster relief and that’s a good thing. But doesn’t it seem a bit braggy to have a license plate honoring your $25 donation? Why not just give the 25 bucks and let it be.
Your $25 would go further if you simply donated it to a worthy cause because you’d eliminate the cost of producing the stupid plate.
Also, a license plate proclaiming you to be “Vermont Strong” is decidedly un-Vermonter like.
Vermonters are strong. (Although I’d argue that they are no stronger than Minnesotans, Coloradoans or North Carolinians when it comes right down to it.) But real Vermonters are silently strong, not “boast about it on a license plate” strong.
Vermonters don’t talk about it. They just do. These license plates are all talk.
Despite initial reports that the plates weren’t selling well, I’ve seen them more and more lately. I grit my teeth every time.
But I hear they can only be on cars legally until June 30, 2014 and then they have to be removed, so I only have two more years to put up with it.
In the meantime, you can keep my Vermont Strong plate. I’ll put the money somewhere it can do some good. Somewhere other than the bumper of my car.