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DMV: Not just for motor vehicles anymore

August 02, 2010

As much as I hated to disappoint Chelsea, I had more pressing matters to attend to this weekend because it seems that once again the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area needs to be saved from itself.

I didn't know this before, but apparently the District of Columbia, et. al., has been feeling inadequate over the decades because it doesn't have a proper nickname. (Yes, me too -- I thought everyone referred to it as "The Swamp," but I guess not.)

See, New York is the Big Apple, Chicago is the Windy City and even Cleveland is the Mistake by the Lake. The nicknames of some towns are counterintuitive, such as Philly's "City of Brotherly Love" and Baltimore's "Charm City." Now would that charm be referring to MS-13 or the mountain oysters they sell at Lexington Market?

Even Cumberland is the Queen City and Hagerstown is the Hub City. I always thought Funkstown should be the Bub City because of all the Hubbub around here.

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But all is not lost in D.C., which apparently is in the process of developing and marketing the nickname of, tah-dah, "DMV."

Yeah, that's it. DMV. Aside from getting sued for copyright infringement by the Department of Motor Vehicles, what does it mean? It stands for D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and according to The Washington Post, it's been in use on hip-hop stations for years, but has failed to get any traction in the mainstream media. Let's hope Sarah Palin is on the case.

All right, I can see how DMV is a little slicker than referring to the Greater Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area. But somehow DMV needs to distance itself from, as the Post calls it, "a certain sluggish bureaucracy." I guess you could change the order of the letters around, but even that doesn't help all that much. MDV sounds like a sport-utility crossover vehicle and VMD sounds like a social disease. "How am I ever going to tell Chuckie that I tested positive for VMD?"

And truth be told, initials have never done anything for the T-dog. Granted, rappers are a lot cooler than I am, but I went about five years thinking that NWA was an airport designation code for North Wilmington. I've never understood why initials are the rappers' answer to everything. If it were up to them, we wouldn't live in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we'd be in the BRM.

Also, initials sound too military -- RPG, MRE, AWOL. And initials always are used by people who think they're more important than they are. Why does "Good Morning America" have to go by GMA, which makes it sound like a nutritional supplement? "David Brinkley's Journal" was never so pretentious that it had to go by DBJ.

"Saturday Night Live" stopped being funny when it started calling itself SNL.

Initials also remind me, and not happily, of those tiresome white ovals with the black Helvetica letters that motorists stick on their bumpers to show everyone where they've been, but keep it kind of a secret at the same time. Ten years ago, it was kind of cool, but when I saw a JBC and came to find that it stood for Jehovah's Baptist Church, I knew the movement had jumped the shark.

So DMV doesn't really do anything for me. I think you need something a little more descriptive, something with a little more pizazz. I'll toss out "Capitol Swill" for starters.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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