Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bumper Stickers, Observations From the Christmas Road. Part 2


Bumper stickers are fascinating. You never know how much they truly represent the drivers. I mean, like tattoos, people probably change their minds about certain things and may regret affixing the sticky labels to their bumpers. Once applied, they are hard to get off. I knew a Mexican American guy when I was about 19. We worked in the steel mill together one summer in East Chicago, Indiana. He had someone tattoo his upper arm with the word ‘Chicano’. The trouble was, they didn’t spell it correctly. The ‘i’ was omitted. So it read ‘Chcano’. Well that didn’t make any sense, so my friend had the “artist” insert a capital ‘I’ right into the rest of the word. He didn’t capitalize the first letter so the finished product looked like this – chIcano – only the ‘I’ was sort of squeezed in there. And the handwriting wasn’t particularly good. Whatchagonnado?!

In the old days when bumpers were chrome plated, you could just use a razor blade and carefully peel and scrape and polish and it would be gone. No harm, no foul. It’s trickier to get them off these days since they are generally applied to painted, plastic bumper covers. No scraping there. Some folks put them on windshields so they can be more easily removed.

While on our winter road trip I saw quite an array of bumper stickers. Some were funny, some political, some represented a specific interest. Several were names of bands. I tried to write down most of the ones I saw but as I was driving a lot of the time it was tricky. The boys were asleep most of the way and I’m sure Heidi wasn’t as into it as me, although I did ask her to record a few.

There was a good share of “W”s left over from elections past. I did see a sticker with the international NO symbol (a red circle with a diagonal line trough it) over a “W” which I can only assume means the opposite. There were lots of McCain/Palin stickers and far fewer Obama/Biden stickers as we were driving through mainly red states. In Indiana I saw a couple Palin stickers with no sidekick represented. I don’t think she’s running for anything yet so there are people who, I presume, support the very idea of the possibility of the chance of her considering a run.

ANTI-OBAMA Bumper Sticker

I always like to pass people with bumper stickers to see what they are like. I mean they are willing to put their ideas right out there. What do they look like? I know I stereotype, much as I try not to. So if a person has a confederate flag on the back of a pick up, I try to see if they match up to the notion in my head of what they must be like. Sometimes I am spot on. For instance, we passed a VW van with a DeadHead sticker on the back. You know the one – looking down at an open skull, red on the left, blue on the right, separated by a zigzag that looks like a lightning bolt. Sure enough, the guy driving was about 65, chunky, long white hair and beard, little round wire rim glasses. Dead ringer for Jerry Garcia (pardon the pun).

GRATEFUL DEAD - Stickers - Peel & Rub - Steal Your Face

Other times the driver and the messages don’t match up at all. There was a bumper sticker on the back of an old white Ford pick up truck that read The party in Hell has been cancelled due to fire. Pretty much right to the point. So when we passed there was a big wooden cross dangling from the rear view. So far pretty consistent. The woman driver had a tattoo on her arm (I couldn’t read it) and a cigarette dangling from her lips. She just didn’t match my mental image of the driver.

Not all who Wander Bumper Sticker

I only saw one of the I will give up my gun when they pry my cold dead fingers… Those used to be far more common. Frankly, I’m glad that one has run its course.

I was an atheist ... Sticker

The magnetic “ribbons” are ubiquitous now, right? You see them for everything from Support the Troops, to Save the Tatas. I wonder who thought of the ribbon idea for those magnets. I mean, they don’t look like ribbons really, but we have all seen them so often that we just buy into the ribbon idea. There are yellow ones (usually to support the military), pink ones (usually for tatas) but all kinds of others as well. I saw Proud Army Wife on a camouflaged looking ribbon, Semer Fi on one that kind of looked like a black belt, a green one that read Snakes on a Plane! and a yellow one with Trapped in a ribbon factory. Send Help!

Metaphors Be With You Bumper Sticker

I saw a bumper sticker that said There but for the grace of God go I. I like it but I am uncertain where There is. I guess we can just fill in the blank for ourselves.

I Heart _____ stickers are fun. I don’t think I’d ever put one on my car. I guess I just can’t commit. I mean I do Heart my wife and my family and my school and my students. I guess I Heart a lot of people and things (animals, music, good books, social justice, world peace, etc.) but I would feel funny about putting it on a sticker on my car. Lots of times people demonstrate their Heart for animals. We saw I Heart My Boxer, I Heart Horses, and I Heart My Shi Tzu. I guess I would not want people to pass me and say, “Uh huh, he looks like a Shi Tzu all right.” Know what I mean?

I love animals they taste gr Bumper Sticker

Two of my favorites are Coexist (the one with all of the symbols of different faiths) and One Human Family. Those, to me, say a lot in just a few words. I am also a big fan of Jesus was not a Republican (or a Democrat). Although lots of people sort of put it out there that he would be one or the other.

Coexist Bumper Sticker

Here are a few random funny ones. You’ve probably seen these too.

That’s what SHE said Paddle faster, I hear banjos... Mean People Suck (I agree) An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. – Ghandi –(makes sense) and Visualize Whirled Peas (perfect for the season, don’t you think?).

2 comments:

Chris Hass said...

What a great way to pass the time on the road! I agree, my favorites are "coexist" and "mean people suck." I don't really like bumper stickers that much but these two I like. I've often thought I'd get a "coexist" sticker but they're so common now.

My favorite is the Promise Keepers who stick on the "I Love My Wife" bumper sticker. That, to me, is like someone feeling they need to say "I like black people." If you have to say so then maybe there's reason to believe you don't. Of course the Promise Keepers probably do love their wives. They just don't see love and respect as being mutual.

Fun board game, match the bumper stickers to the photos of the drivers.

Two weeks is a long break. I look forward to seeing you again Monday. It's been a while!

Mamafamilias said...

I think my favorite one of all time is one I saw here in town several years ago: "My child is an honor preezinor at the North Carolina Correctional Institution"

Good way to pass the time.