It’s one thing to go through life with a name that elicits guffaws from sixth graders the world over. It’s another to have your local government tell you your surname is too offensive to appear on a vanity plate.
That was the situation Dave Assman of Melville, Saskatchewan ran into when he tried to get a vanity tag. Saskatchewan Government Insurance told him that the plate he wanted was too offensive to ride on the back of his truck.
Assman — it’s pronounced “OSS-man,” by the way — appealed the SGI’s ruling. He got a call later in the day that rejected his request a second time.
That’s when Assman struck back: “I could have got a plate for the front but I really wanted a vanity plate on the back of my truck!”
The railroad worker took matters into his own hands and ordered a custom decal to fit the width of his Ranger’s tailgate, designed to replicate a Saskatchewan license plate.
“I think they are too worried that people are going to have hurt feelings about something that is complete nonsense,” Assman told the National Post by direct message last week. “Even if it wasn’t my last name who is it going to hurt?”
Interviewed by the National Post, SGI Spokesman Tyler McMurchy said “Even if a word is someone’s name and pronounced differently than the offensive version, that’s not something that would be apparent to other motorists who will see the plate.”
Apparently this isn’t the first time that an Assman has achieved notoriety outside of Canada. In the 1990s, a gas station attendant in Regina named Dick Assman came to the attention of Late Night host David Letterman and went on to become a cult figure.
When he died in 2016, he had achieved enough Andy Warhol-style 15 minutes of fame that the New York Times ran a memorial.