That Sticker on the Bumper: Pithy Manifesto or Cry for Help?
Sometimes, when I’m tooling around town or driving to and from work, I enjoy wondering about the lives of my fellow drivers. Think about it: How many times have you pulled up behind someone at a traffic light and thought, ‘Gee, I wonder what that person is thinking? I wonder what they’re all about? What do they like or dislike?” Being the kind of person who speculates about nearly everything, I’ve found this to be a nice way to pass the time waiting on lights and suffering traffic delays.
Guess what? Bumper stickers make this a snap.
Maybe you’d prefer to be ignorant of these things, but still, think about all that personal data—personality traits, loyalties, foibles, likes and dislikes—and imagine it encapsulated in and displayed on a small piece of adhesive plastic placed casually upon the bumper of a car. It’s sort of cool.
Another thing occurs to me: Maybe these people are using their bumper stickers as messengers, to say those things these folks would never have the courage to say for themselves, sort of like prank phone calls or late-night Facebook posts. Also, no one can get mad at a bumper sticker, can they? Even if they did, what would be the worst thing they could do?
Actually, in my more creative moments, I’ve had some interesting ideas about that last part, but it’s not important right now. I’m more interested in the idea of the bumper sticker as a window into the psyche of its owner. Who are they? What kind of music do they enjoy? Should I be afraid of them? We’d be remiss if we didn’t at least try to gain some insight into what these people are thinking, wouldn’t we? (The answer to that question is an exuberant “yes.”)
Here, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite bumper stickers and possible interpretations of their messages.
“Visualize World Peace”: I’ve been in college for thirty years.
“My Kid is an Honor Roll Student at [Insert School Name Here]”: My child can spell his or her name and may know his or her multiplication tables.
“I’m the Parent of a Terrific Kid at [Insert School Name Here]”: My child can spell his or her name on a good day.
“My Kid Beat up your Honor Roll Student at [Insert School Name Here]”: My child doesn’t know his or her name but will still probably go far in life and may even one day be your child’s boss.
“God is my Co-Pilot”: I can’t figure out how to turn off my blinker, and I have a hard time driving like a normal human being.
“God is my Pilot”: I don’t know how to drive at all, and I don’t care.
A Racecar Number: I watch cars drive around in circles really fast, and this should frighten you. (The fact that these folks may fancy themselves race car drivers is enough to make we want to walk)
“26.2”: I once ran a long distance.
A Cartoon Character Showing his Distaste (And Presumably that of the Driver of the Car) for Something by Relieving Himself on It: This one has become so widely used that it deserves sub-categories.
Character Relieving Himself on a Racecar Number: (See “A Racecar Number”).
Character Relieving Himself on an Automobile Manufacturer’s Logo: Although the makers of my automobile cleared around 2,000,000 % profit when I bought it, I remain loyal to them and find it necessary to urinate on their competitors.
Character Relieving Himself on the Letter “U”: I don’t know you, but I’d really like to pee on you.
Character Relieving Himself on a College Logo: While it’s possible I never graduated from anything, I feel compelled to show my disdain for this university by urinating on its logo.
Character Relieving Himself the Words “Ex Wife”: Misogyny makes me happy.
Character Relieving Himself on Himself: I used to beat up the honor roll students at [Insert School Name Here], but now I’m their boss.
“I’m a Graduate of Starfleet Academy”: I watch Star Trek, and I’m really cool. Just ask my friend.
“I’m the N.R.A., and I Vote”: Duck!
“Don’t Blame Me, I Voted [Insert the Name of the Political Party Not Presently in Power Here]”: I donated a lot of money to the campaign of the loser of the last election, so I’m trying to make myself feel better about this act of bad judgment by pretending I have a working knowledge of the political process.
“Beam Me up, Scotty!”: I have one friend, and he graduated from Starfleet Academy.