Hurry, hurry, hurry. Only five weeks until the deadline. Should the motif be cherry blossoms? Miniature Dupont Circles? Step right up and design yourself (as well as the rest of us) a new license plate for the District of Columbia.
If the carnival theme of the preceding paragraph seems misplaced, I can promise you that it isn't. I got a look at Jeff Hoffman's file the other day. It contains some of the most carnival-like ideas for a new D.C. plate I've ever seen -- or imagined.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. To recap: Jeff Hoffman is an editor for the city government who is overseeing an official contest to pick a new city license plate.
Anyone can enter any concept, as long as it is original and can accommodate six letters or numbers. The concept also must emphasize Washington as a city, not as the seat of the national government.
The prize is not just everlasting self-esteem, but a special merit award, an interview published in this space, a reception thrown in your honor by Mayor Marion Barry and free tags for a year.
Since I first wrote about the contest a month ago, about 30 people have submitted entries. Below you'll find a cross-section of them. If any resembles the idea you intended to submit, go back to the drawing board and try again.
First, the frivolous:
From Jake Page of Waterford, Va., comes this ode to our government workers: WASHINGTON, D.C. 123x456 SEMPER CIVILIS SERVANTUS
That last line means "civil servants forever," in very loose Latin. But the crowning touch is the series of rings that run around Page's design. They're made of red tape.
Ronald S. Zarowitz of Columbia proposes a pun.
His design features the words WASHINGTON, D.C. across the top. In the center is a drawing of a cherry blossom at its pinkest. And across the bottom are the read-'em-either-way-you-like words, A CAPITAL CITY.
More political is Tina Bacas of Fairfax. Her design has DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA across the top and TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION across the bottom.
For an all-embracing entry, it would be hard to beat Isaac Stewart Jr. of Northeast. He proposes a bouquet of American beauty roses to the left of the plate, with the slogan: A CITY FOR ALL PEOPLE.
In a similar vein, Karen Martel of Northwest proposes a top line of PROUD TO BE and a bottom line of FROM D.C.
What's your concept? Mail it to Jeff Hoffman at the Office of Communications, Room 219, District Building, Washington, D.C., 20004. Remember that it must be a total concept, not just a slogan. You need not be a D.C. resident to enter.