Thursday, November 03, 2005

Stick It

I'm married and I have a child, but I'm just not ready for the kind of commitment required by a bumper sticker. They instantly target the bearer for quick judgment by a label-happy populace. I believe what I believe and I like what I like, but that's for me to know, and it may change tomorrow. Consequently, I rarely put it out there for everyone to see.

Just yesterday, I saw a white, early '80's-model Toyota pickup that typified the opposite school of thought -- "if you feel it, stick it." The mobile media stated (*cringes at the search engine hits this will garner*):

"Powered by Witchcraft"
"Re-defeat Bush"
"Outrageous Older Woman"
"Be Witched"

That said, I trust everyone reading this knows the difference between reporting and supporting. (In my days as a reporter, I found that some of the groups I covered assumed I was on their side, as if reporters choose where they are assigned based on their personal ideology). If not, then there must be some interesting opinions of me after Antjuan of the Pink Boots. As with Antjuan, on some level I admire the fortitude it takes to sport these phrases in the North Dallas area.

Besides religion and politics, however, there is another popular category -- parental pride.

I fear that day will come when Ben asks me to affix a bumper sticker declaring, "My kid is on the honor roll at (insert school name here)."

Although I hope he qualifies, I do not relish the thought of his walking up to me, glossy rectangular statement of his accomplishment in hand. A lot of parents don't think about things like this before they happen, and I'm not sure it helps much to do so. My answer right now is that humility should win, but the fact that this is out here for you to read shows that I don't adhere too closely to that tenet.

The dad in me says, "Where's the sticker for the other car?"

I expect my dad side will win this battle. We drive our cars until they are worth nothing, anyway, so a mess of messages on the back bumper will only add to their character for the future owner. That reminds me of a minivan my father in-law once bought for a cool grand, a price that included a pre-mounted bumper sticker urging, "Save our Mother Earth." Not that there's anything wrong with that, and not that he doesn't care about the environment. I just don't see him using bumper stickers. Unless it said something like, "Visualize Whirled Peas," because he likes literate humour.

Which category do I truly abhor? Those bearing obscenities. Now, I know "obscenity" is up for debate. To some, that simplest of stickers bearing one letter -- "W" -- is emblematic of evil that should not be spoken. Then, there are those who get mad enough to spit when they see one that reads Kerry/Edwards. In this post I can't begin to cover the depth of constant one-upmanship in the Christian Ichthus versus the Darwin "fish" with legs.

What I'm talking about are words and meanings that young children simply should not see. I would say that they are anything you wouldn't use in conversation with your grandmother, but I've heard of some pretty crass old ladies who let fly at will.

So, if you feel it, and you want the world to know, then stick it and let it shine (you can create your own online). If not, then join me in the ranks of the anonymous drivers, and hide it under a bush (where the sun don't shine).


Simon said...

Regarding your second-last paragraph...

Why is it always and without fail that Will is the inevitable target of verbal vitriol? I remember many a time hearing Jean-Luc Picard proclaim, "Fire at Will!" and I always expected Riker to duck.

I'd never name a son William for that reason alone.

Mark said...

That's hilarious, especially since I, too watched ST:TNG. There's also the Beavis and Butthead spoof:
"Number one, I order you to take a number two."

Jim said...

Funny. That phrase always had more "Lost in Space" connotations to me: I can see John Robinson yelling "Fire at will", and Robot suddenly pivoting his electro-charged claws in Will's direction, as Maureen yells "Nooooooooooooo!".

I guess that means I'm a bit older than you guys ;-D

With regard to your subject Mark; I have to admit I have the same philosophy, at least with respect to political or ideological stickers. I like your phrase "They instantly target the bearer for quick judgement by a label-happy populace."

I'm all for defending my views in a thoughtful debate, but have yet to find any single label that can sum up my view on every subject.

Mark said...


Thanks. That sentence was the result of a couple of revisions of that paragraph.

Alvis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alvis said...

I have a bumper sticker on which is written, "My other car is a tardis." What does that say about me? :) Of course, it's not actually on my car. I won't have bumper stickers on my car. I agree with everything you said. One of my favorites is, "Get in, sit down, shut up, and hang on!" It always evokes the same response from me, "Moron!"