Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sh*t I Don't Understand: Bumper Stickers

Let me first say that I have no problem with self-expression, as long as it doesn't encroach on those who are simply minding their own business. After all, this isn't Russia. Is this Russia? This isn't Russia. But that being said, there are numerous opportunities to express oneself among all the ins and outs of our lives, so why do so many people feel compelled to adorn the back of their cars with bumper stickers? Is it some form of illicit obligation to let everyone who drives behind you get to know you a little bit? Or is it the feeling that your hobbies, habits, and viewpoints are so cool and/or unique that you must, MUST share them with the world?

There are three things I care about and absolutely need to know when it comes to the driver of the car in front of me: if they are intent on turning left or getting over to the left, if they are intent on turning right or getting over to the right, and if they are on their brakes. That's all I ever need or want to know, and there happen to be these fancy blinking lights on the back of cars that indicate these very facts. Anything else is superfluous and an outright waste of my concentration.

I don't care what teams you root for. I don't care what bands you like. I don't care what radio station you listen to. I don't care who you plan to vote for in an upcoming election. I don't care who you voted for in any past election (a hot-air gun and a sharp thumbnail are all you need to take down that Kerry/Edwards 2004 sticker, folks). I don't care what your religion is. I don't care what nationality you are. I don't care that you'd rather be fishing. I don't care that your other car is a broomstick, so you say. I don't care if someone has dubbed you the "World's Greatest Dad." I don't care if you are a "Jersey Girl." I don't care that you love your bullmastiff. I don't care that there's a baby on board. I don't care if your car climbed Mt. Washington. I don't care if you ran a half-marathon or a full marathon. I don't care that you've been to OBX. I don't care what shore you go to. I don't care what college you attended or presently attend. I don't care what school your children attended or presently attend. And I absolutely, positively, do not give one rat's ass if your kid is an honor student.

I'm not saying not to be proud of who you are and what you're about. I'm just saying to scale it back a bit. Loading your car up with bumper stickers makes you look like a sitar-playing hipster in addition to potentially hurting the car's value. Allow your actions, words, attitudes, and (to an extent) your sense of style paint the picture of exactly who you are. Shoving your persona into everyone's face via the back of your vehicle is the human-interaction equivalent of force feeding, and I, for one, would like to feel like less of a veal calf when I'm out there navigating our lovely roads.


  1. I'm going to say that like a not relevant hat at a sporting event. Liscense Plate Frame or college window sticker is allowed. Honor student thing bothers me so much and if I had a kid that ever got one I'd never put it on.

  2. License plate frames and window stickers can be judged on more of a case-by-case basis. And of course there are exceptions to even the anti-bumper sticker maxim, for example today I got behind someone with a Howard Dean bumper sticker. Made me laugh for a good 5 minutes.