Tuesday, August 30, 2005

You're Only As Good As Your Bumper Sticker

Have you ever thought about how much effort people put into picking that bumper sticker you've read a bajillion times while sitting in traffic? It has to say just the right thing and it has to go in just the right place. Actually, what bothers me about some bumper stickers lately is that it seems people don't put a lot of time into thinking about what they say and they certainly don't think carefully on the placement. Trust me, I'm a little OCD on the subject of symmetry and alignment of bumper stickers. When I see a misaligned bumper sticker I sometimes get that feeling like when I was in grade school and the teacher (usually a sub) would erase the blackboard but not quite all the words before writing over them. Shivers! When I see a crooked bumper sticker, I can't also help but think how they must have just slapped it on and not cleaned the space before sticking it. All those crunchy dust particles and bug parts permanently adhered to the back of their askew political message.
I have been guilty myself of occasionally buying a bumper sticker on impulse depending on whether it was a clever saying or band I was into at the time but thank God I never committed any of them to my car. Bumper stickers are a lot like tattoos in that most people are stuck with them and instead of taking the time to remove them they just complacently defend their choice whenever asked. "Oh, that was back in my Blue Oyster Cult phase...hyuk!" I really don't understand political endorsement stickers either. I'm sure you're going to sway the mind of the lady in the Paseo with the five kids with your bumper sticker, it's that profound of a message; especially now since you've just cut her off to get to Big Lots. At what point due you break out the acetate when your guys loses? Is it a month, a week...the next day? When does the pain stop? In my book any group, faith, or association you display on your car directly reflects the entire following (let's call it a blanket statement). Trust me, I've seen the way people behave in their vehicles around here, would you trust just anyone to represent your Libertarian Transgendered Sewing Circle? I think not. Case in point, I'm not sure if it is the angst over our current administration or my severe depression there for a while in October 2004 but have you noticed that everyone with those little square black "W" stickers drive like pompous self-righteous automatons? Just wondering.
That said, the good thing about bumper stickers are that they truly represent the personality and beliefs of the people that drive them, kind of like when they own dogs that look like them except that was so five years ago. Sometimes you feel a sense of security sitting next to a person with a Z88.3 sticker because you know they are pretty much a peaceful folk (just make sure you aren't behind one of them, they don't tend to drive aggressively), or maybe you connect with the hip kid in glasses with the They Might Be Giants sticker and let him in since he's been signaling for the past mile and 1/2 and those asses in the truck with the NRA sticker wouldn't let him merge. You get my drift, bumper stickers can be a way of sorting out the personalities of the faceless millions on the road each day. I do have to question sometimes how some people get the bumper stickers they have though. For instance, just last week I spotted an 80 year old couple in their brand new Scion that had the typical "My Child is an honor student at some random "F" graded school" bumper sticker...six of them! I just had to pause to think, hmmmmm. I guess they could be the kid's grandparents who just borrowed the car. It made me feel good that they were so proud, but then the Hardy Boy in me came out and fired off some fiendish scheme where they were really spies from Micronesia here to steal our Denny's concept and bring it back to the people over there! The bumper stickers were there just to give the illusion that they fit in. Okay? Sometimes I think that people have no clue what bumper stickers are on their car, they were just there when they bought it. I saw some motherly-looking lady a while back with a sticker that said Hooray for Boobies! Not to be sexist but I thought "really?...odd." Maybe she was a Bloodhound Gang fan. Maybe some bumper stickers are there just to hold the car together, I don't know. But it is fun to think about!
The Soccer Ball Cult. More than a coincidence.
There is a current trend in bumper stickers that I just can't figure out. It's been bothering me and I feel I have to bring it to the light. It's what I call The Soccer Ball Cult. Every day, about 100 times a day, I see this same non-descript sticker on the back window or rear hatch of some SUV or minivan. Is this a euphemism for "soccer mom" or something more sinister? Haven't noticed it? Just take a look around the next time you are at a red light my friend. They are everywheeeeeere. And I'm here to say, I think it's more than a coincidence. What kind of community involvement is there really in soccer locally? Not enough to support the amount of soccer balling that I have seen plastered on the cars in this area. With all that interest in soccer wouldn't we be international champions in the minor leagues or the amateur union? Where's the touted reputation that Orlando should have as a soccer Mecca in relation to the number of soccer ball stickers that are putt-putting around our fair city? Is this code similar to the winking eye you might give a fellow motorist who sports a rainbow sticker? Is there more to this round black and white symbol that I'm just not getting? Life's a mystery and someone is having a ball.
Bumper stickers created by Betamike

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You failed to mention the trend of bullet holes on cars...all I have to say is...scary!
Don't want to know who's driving, just know to get as afar away as possible!