why do people buy $30,000 cars, all shimmering with their dupont automotive paint with fun names like sunburst yellow and onyx black only to weigh down their investment and society with their pitiful self expression. bumper stickers. not just for bumpers anymore. they are for windows, rear hatches, side panels and of course both front and rear bumpers. liberals. conservatives. democrats. republicans. religious. irreligious. wealthy. poor. yes, even people without cars have bumper stickers stuck somewhere.
early bumper stickers first appeared on the scene (then later on toyota siennas) with witty sayings like “let them eat cake” and “washington for president”. who would have thought that even the least assuming and articulate among us could have such a presence: a grand stature- tall like abraham lincoln, a far reaching voice- powerful like pavarotti, all while driving at nascar speeds through an urban jungle with the anonymity reserved only for young caterpillars isolated in their cocoons in the canopy of the rain forest.
people plaster their cars with greater fervor than they plaster their bodies (that is a reference to tattoos, not alcohol… one would assume the grasp of a cold tasty treat on a summer day surpasses the incredulous presence of faded cheap vinyl wit haphazardly pasted to fords, fiats and ferraris- but i digress). sure some bumper stickers are quite creative. others are a bit more depraved. still a few are even insightful. most are just plain dastardly.
“focus on your own damn family” cries a man while driving his ’94 subaru outback down the interstate. proud not to be you. that’s his motto. “soreloserman” retorts a woman in her red 2000 ford f-150 as she careens by while chatting on her cell phone. proud to be american. that’s her cheer. luxury minivans laden with bumper stickers profess the utter greatness of their child’s future pre-school alma mater while sitting in starbucks parking lots. utility vans patronizing the local pump boast of the natural self preservation and grandeur of their owner’s son exclaiming”my child beat up your honor student” in a vile mocking tone.
bumper stickers do serve a few purposes for the owners of the cars that own the stickers. first(1), they enable the weak minded to pretend they have a voice in society; second(2) they make the car and the owner feel good about themselves, overcoming their own insecurity about being born with a small engine and third(3) they invite social discussion by causing nearby onlookers to contemplate the reality of the underlying truth of the witty prose and just possibly cause them to take some sort of action in agreement to the position and opinion of the woman behind the wheel, who must be in some way far more intellectual, insightful and important than any other among us, for they have been able to capture truth in such a way as to cause this uprising of emotion in the hearts of those stuck in boston traffic who have nothing better to do than peruse the characters of the 3″ x 8″ billboard staring into their soul.
bumper sticker owners beware. stick em to your car. stick em to your soul. it doesn’t matter what you think of others, just what you think of yourself.