At gatherings when I notice a person not drinking, or perhaps they say something that rings a bell with me, I ask, “Are you, by any chance, a ‘Friend of Bill W' ?” Bill Wilson was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and that is the universal phrase that we in AA use to identify ourselves to fellow members. My license plate, “FRNDOFBW” is a shortened version of this and I’ve had many interesting encounters over the years with people who understand what it means. It's usually horn honks and lots of upraised thumbs but I’ve also had a few unforgettable adventures and this is my favorite.
I was at a Stop sign waiting for a large vehicle on the main road to turn into the street I was on. He didn't have enough maneuvering room so (without looking in my rear view mirror) I backed up. BAM ! I hit something and when I got out to look I was aghast to see that it was a Sheriff’s car. The Sheriff’s deputy turned out to be a really nice guy and he'd seen that I was trying to give the other driver a little more room so he didn’t charge me with anything. “Just be sure to look in your mirror next time”, he said.
I was getting back in to my car when he added, “By the way I’m curious. What does your license plate mean?” When I told him he said that he was a great fan of AA. “I’ve seen many of the driver’s that I’ve stopped turn their lives around with the aid of that organization,” he said. Then he proceeded to chuckle and he asked me if I’d been aware of what I hit when I backed into his car? I guess I looked bewildered because he pointed to the front grille and to the sign that was affixed to it. The placard read, “BOOZE IT & LOSE IT”