No, this post is not about those wonderful individuals who decide to drive three feet off my car’s bumper at speeds in excess of seventy-five miles per hour! To release my true feelings about those misguided souls would take at least a half a dozen posts. Chances are that in the process I would also lose my PG rating; given the language I would feel compelled to share with the fraternity of tailgaters! Let’s also not get started on that special little cultural subgroup, lovingly known as the “drivers in my blind spot.”
I am a child of the seventies. which was a unique period in our heritage. We had just left the era of protest and open love; entering a new frontier of economic prosperity and social adjustment. Politely stated, we were simply clueless! One of the unique aspects of the seventies was our affinity for bumper stickers. They gave us a voice in the vast wilderness of the roadways. We were free to share our viewpoints, or nuances of who we were, with any motorist who was fortunate enough to follow us.
Eleven years into the new millennium, it seems that this cultural icon has fallen by the wayside. It is truly a challenge to find a vehicle nowadays that has a colorful vinyl strip, emblazoned with a catchy or controversial thought, crookedly affixed to its rear bumper. Is it a sign of the fact that none of us has anything to worthwhile to say? Have we decided that a bumper sticker lessens the appeal of our overpriced German luxury sedan? Have bumper sticker manufacturers gone by the wayside, replaced by blogging sites where we can each proclaim our original thoughts with the world?
I recently dropped my jaw as a vintage 1970’s Volkswagen Squareback drove past the park where I was walking the dog. That type of automotive longevity alone would have been enough to captivate me, but there was more to this vehicle than just its age. The entire body of the car was covered with bumper stickers! There was no sign of the vehicle’s actual paint color whatsoever. I continued to stare as the small car chugged into a shopping center parking lot across the street. The driver and passenger slowly emerged with matching his-and-hers gray ponytails!
With a little bit of persuasion, I was able to convince my hound that she really did want to go over towards the shopping center. In a few minutes I was standing directly across from the Squareback. Not only were the sides, front, and back of the car plastered with bumper stickers; the entirety of the roof and the hood also sported a collection of carefully placed vinyl strips. Obviously the owners wanted to assure that any low-flying aircraft would also enjoy the benefits of their collected thoughts!
I would have spent a few hours taking in all of the differing bumper stickers in front of me. However, ninety pounds of dog was urging me back over towards the park. A quick representative reading afforded me a small glimpse into the thoughts of the car’s owners. There was the usual assortment of political commentaries, most of them suggesting that my best interests lie in Marxist philosophy. Of course I found a variety of pro-environmental calls to action. Then there was my favorite genre of bumper sticker philosophical musings; the blatant warnings pertaining to the driver’s bodily functions and an advisory to remain a safe distance behind the car!
Over the course of the next half-mile back home, I studied every parked car that we passed. Amazingly enough, not a single one of them sported a bumper sticker! My thoughts kept returning to the older couple and the car that had become a philosophical canvas for the entire world to enjoy. Then the thought simply exploded within my mind!
From this point forward, I propose that a minimum of one bumper sticker be mandatory on every vehicle in this country. To not comply will be a federal offense, and those who participate will be awarded additional perks such as automobile insurance discounts! Each car owner must select the one thought they wish to share with the country within the first ninety days of enacting this law.
You have just been ordered to share your most important personal philosophy within public view. Everywhere you go, others will judge you by the words affixed to your car’s back bumper. What will you have to say? What will you share of yourself? What is your most important thought? The words you have chosen to place on your strip of colored vinyl should now also tell you everything you need to know about yourself!
While we are waiting for those manufacturers to fire back up; why not start living your bumper sticker slogan right now? When the actual physical ones come out, not only will we be treated with knowing what is important to each individual; we will also create new jobs and stimulate the economy by taking the old bumper sticker factories out of mothballs!