What would you do?

When I purchased the Kia I moved my personalized IDEALST plates from the Tiburon over to my new ride.  This meant that I needed new plates for the Tiburon which I planned to keep for an indeterminate period of time. I thought long and hard about what my new personalized plate should be.  I ended up choosing SPUNK.

I chose SPUNK because I have spunk and I thought it was a good plate for my spunky little car.  The definition I had in mind was the Merriam-Webster version: spirit, courage, and determination.  I was of the mindset that spunk is a synonym for moxie, feisty, or fortitude.  It felt like a good fit for me and the Tiburon.

What I did not know was that spunk carries a slang meaning that is quite different from the definition I had in mind.  Indeed, I find the slang meaning so unpalatable and inappropriate that I will not share it here.  But make no mistake, any confusion between the meaning I intended and the slang meaning would be quite embarrassing.

I first learned of the slang meaning of spunk from Mike after he put the new plates on.  He came in with a quizzical look on his face and asked me. “What made you decide to get that plate?” My answer – “Because I have spunk!” – didn’t alleviate his confusion.  He then proceeded to ask me if I knew what spunk meant.  That is when I learned that the definition I was thinking of and the definition he was thinking of were dramatically different.

Both my sons and a few other male friends of varying ages have also chimed in and let me know that the slang meaning of spunk is widely known – at least by men.  I asked my daughter Sarah if she had ever had ever heard the slang meaning for the word and she did not know it.  This gave me hope that my nice, clean respectable definition  would at least be appreciated by some folks.

My son Cory told me I need to order new plates forthwith.  He says I should not be seen driving the Tiburon with the SPUNK license plate.  I told him the plates were brand new and I didn’t really want to go through ordering new plates.  I queried whether he was correct in his assessment that folks would look at me funny…perhaps folks would see me and realize I clearly meant to convey a clean message.  He was not convinced that they would come to that conclusion.

Now I am torn.  I loved my SPUNK plates when I ordered them.  I would like to keep them, but what good is a personalized plate if it doesn’t convey the message you intended?  So I ask you dear readers – what would you do if you were in this situation?  Should the plates stay or go?

Day one thousand three hundred and four of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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6 Responses to What would you do?

  1. Miki Tanner-Bendickson says:

    I had no idea there was a slang meaning for “spunk”…I’ve got to go check it out on the internet…UFFDA! Not sure I should have done that! I know it’d be an expense to get different plates…could you change it to Spunky? I wonder if the folks at NDDOT know about the slang meaning?

  2. Laurie dietz says:

    Ugh. I had to look it up on google. I have vanity plates and love them but if I were you, I’d take them back and explain it to the DMV. Generally, they do try to make sure they only approve tasteful ideas. How sad for you.

  3. Katherine says:

    Change the plates immediately. They could make you a victim.

  4. tim haering says:

    Ms. C, just add a Y –SPUNKY. Makes it an adjective, not a noun. Slang erased. The slang is rather archaic anyway, though I am sure it will buy some trouble down the road. SO will SPUNKY. Just your spunkiness probably gets you into some scrapples. Comes with the territory. I think the Y insulates you from being slung with slang. YOU’re gonna be a star. Beep beep n beep beep, yeah!

  5. richard says:

    Get rid of it.

  6. charlie elk says:

    New plates are in order as soon as possible. It’s too bad new generations keep perverting our perfectly fine old words.
    Not only are your plates a problem but search engines are going to start picking up your blog for searches like “spunk ____” Well you get the idea. Imagine what type of trolls do those searches. You might want to consider taking this post down as you apply for the new plates.

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