Fun With Borrowed Slang

I recently renewed my license plates, and to do so, one must have the vehicle’s emissions tested at a centralized facility contracted exclusively by the government (you can guess how I feel about centralization and exclusive franchises granted by the government, gentle reader). As the woman put the official sticker onto my windshield, she gave me the certificate I needed to take to the License Office to renew my plates. “Take this to the DMV,” she said.

As I stood in line at the License Office, I heard that guy, the one who talks loudly on his cell phone while in a queue, say that he was in line at the DMV. He also called it, on a separate call, the License Bureau.

Now I won’t split too many hairs about the fact that the License Fee Office is a franchised to a private company and is not an official bureau at all.

However, I will point out that it’s not the DMV, Department of Motor Vehicles. It’s an offshoot of the Department of Revenue and only exists to take money. Missouri does have a Department of Transportation, but it deals with highways, not cars.

These people call it the DMV because that’s what they call it on television. Somewhere else’s bureaucracy again becomes the national buzzword.

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2 thoughts on “Fun With Borrowed Slang

  1. Actually, I am going with my theory of slang borrowed from television. I also know that some of the urban youth from Milwaukee, at least as late as the early 1990s, called the police the “five-oh”; I don’t think they were from Hawaii.

    That had the distinct oddity of being slang borrowed from a television show that had been canceled a decade prior.

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