the license plate game

30 05 2006


(a fairly similar story appeared 20060525 at the Philippine Star written by Carlene P.C. Pilar-Arceo, Ph.D., The license plate game Or something to think about while caught in traffic, but i have actually been thinking of writing this piece a long time ago, and reading this piece by Dr Pilar-Arceo gave me the strength to finally do it…)

when i was in 1st college way back when, i’d hitch a ride going to school with my uncle every morning from San Pedro, Laguna up to his workplace in Intramuros… sometimes, i’d just sleep through the worst of traffic jams, but most of the time, i’d amuse myself by looking at plate numbers of passing cars [as my uncle drives sooooooo slow at the time even turtles could’ve passed us!!]… out of the combination letterletterletter numbernumbernumber i’d pick out the 3 letters [unlike Dr Pilar-Arceo’s picking out the numbers] and try and create a word out of them… i even devised a game show out of it… but more of the game later…

so, what i’d do is get the 3 letters [say, out of PLD 864, i get PLD] and try and create words out of it… so, PLD will give me PLEAD, PLAID, DOPPLE, PADDLE, LEAPED, LAPPED, and so on… you get the idea… at the beggining, i just add vovels to the letters to make it a complete word, or i use the same letter twice or more if needed… later on, i made my personal game a little harder [or easier, your choice] by adding other letters as well aside from the vowels… and this was the game show i devised…

for each letter combination, you are given 100 points [or 1M points, again your choice], and create a 6-letter [or more] word out of that letter combination, nothing less… for every added vowel [those that are not in the original 3-letter combination], 5 points is deducted each time a vowel is used… for the word LEAPED above, original letters were PLD and added vowels were E, an A and another E… that would be less 5 points each leaving you still with a total of 85 points… of course, the less number of vowels you add, the better…

a twist of the game comes in when you create at least an 8-letter word out of the original 3 letters… if you give an 8-letter combination, you get an additional 50-points, minus 5 points for each instance of a vowel, AND, minus 15 points for each instance of a consonant [BCDFGH and the rest]…

for example, for PLD, an 8-letter word may be PLEADING… so, that’s plus 50 points which makes your point tally 150, MINUS 5 each for vowels E, A, and I for a running total of 135, minus 15 points each for N and G which makes it 105… of course, you have to reduce that further for every word that was given… to make it more interesting, minus 25 if you give 5 or less words, minus 20 for 6 to 10 words, and so on… until you get your final point tally for that round and you add that to your running total…

and you do the same thing for every 3 letter combination round…

sounds silly? maybe, maybe not… but what it taught me during that 1-year period i rode with my uncle going to school were words that i don’t normally use, words that were unknown, and of course, the spelling of these words… i became a school newspaper writer, editor, and editor-in-cheap [hehehe], and this game was the beginning of it all… ok, i am not saying that you’d have to do what i did if you want to write… of course, not! i also read books [sci-fi was a personal favorite], newspapers, listen to my other Kano uncle speak, as well as [try to] speak English myself… i am not saying that i’ve mastered the language.. far from it! but at least, i can now converse well with clients, bosses, and subordinates, without resorting to engrish-carabao, at least…

what i am saying is… well… okay, so, i am not trying to say anything… my point really is, that we don’t have to rely too much on schools and teachers to teach us everything we need to know… sometimes, what we need is already in front of us that we are just blind to it… talk about spoonfeeding…:)

Ciao, sweetie… 8)




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