This is a true story involving road rage and a customized license plate. I was a senior in high school and I was driving home on the freeway, my friend was in the front seat, and Tom Petty was on the stereo. We saw a red pickup truck with a customized plate that said “XFASLNR.” We spent a few minutes debating and deciding what XFASLNR meant. Extra Falsener? Is that something? We gave up and drove past the truck and as we did, my friend made a funny face at the red truck. He didn’t flip him off, or scowl at him. I think he stuck out his tongue and waved his fingers like a five-year-old taunting his crush on the playground.
That was enough to make XFASLNR declare war. He instantly floored it, cut me off, and slammed on his brakes. I used my ninja reflexes to dart into the other lane. I didn’t even have time to flip him off before he tried to cut me off again. And again and again. He would veer into my lane; he would speed up behind me and try to tap my bumper, he would try to run me off the road. I wasn’t close to home either. He chased me for a few miles before I finally got to my exit and made my escape. We considered ourselves lucky and the matter closed.
A year and a half went by and I was now in my second year of college. I went to my buddy Cody’s house and there was a red pickup truck in his driveway with the license plate XFASLNR. I had a flashback to my near-death experience and ran into to Cody’s house and demanded answers. A mutual friend who was from the same hometown was sitting in the living room admitted that the truck was his dad’s. I told him the whole story of being chased halfway across the county. He told me that it was definitely his dad and regaled me with stories of his dad tailgating, swerving, and instigating fights over perceived slights for years. He told me about being five years old and pleading with his dad to not punch another driver who cut him off. He acknowledged that his dad was crazy and I realized I was lucky to be alive.
And then I asked him the question that had been bugging me for years, the whole reason why my friend made that stupid face that set him off… What does XFASLNR mean? And it means Ex Fast Laner. His dad used to race cars and be in the fast lane. I know that’s not the most exciting conclusion to this tale of road rage, but at least I got closure. That’s worth something, right? And it’s kind of stupid to road rage when you have a memorable customized plate that makes it easy to identify you.
Critically Rated at 13/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young