Friday, February 23, 2007

Remember These?

I was trying to explain these to someone the other day, and he had no idea of what I spoke!! Was it just a Texas thing? I think these were from around the time I graduated from high school in Houston and into college in Austin...

Anyway, for those of you NOT in the loop on this, please let me introduce to you the crown-shaped air freshener. Back around 1993, this fad became all the rage in automotive accessories, temporarily replacing fuzzy dice and tree-shaped pendants from the mirror. To release the scent, apparently one had to twist the cross on top of the crown to open the vent. One would perch this aromatic royal symbol on the dashboard of his hoopty to freshen the air and to represent... well, I'm not quite sure.

From my observations, that there was a particular type of car that usually presented these things (hooptys) and usually a particular type of individual displaying them (young male minorities, from what I could tell), I was thinking perhaps it was a gang thing? Was it actually supposed to make the car look nicer? Why did it catch on the way it did?

So I did some research this morning to figure out the purpose of these things. It turns out that much speculation exists on the purpose of these crown air fresheners. Here are some of the rumors that have circulated:

1. They're a Black Separatist symbol.
2. African Americans used them to indicate Black ownership, so the car won't be bothered, stolen, or broken into.
3. The number of crowns signifies the car's standing in the drug dealing hierarchy, with more crowns indicating higher status.
4. It was a sick joke stared by the KKK. (HUH? That's a bit much...)

ANYWAY, in the end, my conclusion of this very scientific research project is that it was just a gaudy way to display an air freshener. Simple huh? Weird as a Chia Pet, Baby on Board sign, or the Macarena, but simply a fad that caught on within a particular demographic. Interesting stuff.

I haven't seen one in a long time, but if I do encounter one, I'm gonna rock it in Lady Marmalade!

Love, Mer

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