Said no one. Ever. On my way to and from work, I spend many hours on the road facing the rear-end of a plethora of vehicles. Needless to say, I see quite a lot of bumper stickers. And those stickers can speak volumes about that vehicle’s owner. The sight of so many made me realize that I, like others (I’m sure), categorize people based upon what their stickers say. I am sure my list of categories is not all inclusive, but here is what I have surmised and to which I have assigned monikers:
The Advertiser-ers. Yes, I just made up a word here. Companies, businesses, etc. hand out their bumper stickers as advertisement. The “advertiser-er” becomes a volunteer to re-advertise and do it for FREE for that business. I am sure that those who put the stickers on their vehicles think they are doing the business a favor – or not – I think these folks are being duped and get nothing in return but a hot mess when and if they try to remove the sticker. I can see them now in my imagination, shaking their heads, wringing their hands, cursing the business and perhaps themselves for allowing their property to be used in this fashion with (typically) nothing in return. So, what do they really get, what does the reader of the sticker get? Did that sticker make them want to run out and buy that product? Now, I am not saying “don’t use the car to advertise,” but if one is going to use a vehicle to advertise, it ought to be their own vehicle for their own business, so that if I, Josie Q. Public, have a question, I don’t have to wonder if the bearer of a bumper sticker has the answers.
The Jokers. Ah! Now these I do enjoy. There have been many a time when I have read one and chuckled. I once saw a sticker in the shape of a paw print and the inside said, “My best friend is a bitch.” That made me literally laugh out loud. This one also made me smile: “Where am I going, and Why am I in this HANDBASKET?” BUT, it is only funny to those who know the old adage related to it. And, the pièce de résistance, the one the Grammar Nazi in me just absolutely loves…drum roll, please: “Every time someone types ‘to funny,’ I immediately picture them, fist in the air, going on a quest to find funny.” When I see the stickers that seem to be put there to make others laugh, it makes me think that perhaps that owner would be a fun person to hang around, maybe their calling is to be a comedian, but I do categorize them as “jokers”. That being said, none of them changed my life.
The Community Advocate. You have those that say “co-exist!” Hmmm. We’re all right here, on the same road, in the same city, in the same state, and the same country. I think we’re doing that already. Or, “war is not the answer”. Well, what is the question? Then there’s “look twice for motorcycles”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the intent behind it, but really, does that make a person stop and think, “wow. I’m glad I read that bumper sticker telling me to do that, because if it hadn’t been for them, I would just drive right on into that next lane without looking at all.” Geez… if a driver is inattentive, they’re going to be that way no matter what a person’s bumper sticker advises them to do otherwise. No, that bumper sticker did not change them. They are going on their merry way to stay the same inattentive/reckless drivers they are.
The Politician. Now these make me crazy. Do people who put these politically motivated stickers on their vehicles seriously think they are going to change someone’s mind? Do they really feel that by insulting another party’s ideology, leader, or members will bring the reader over to their side, away from “the dark side”? These, aside from the other I will mention later, make me want to scream and slash tires. They can only prove to accomplish two things: 1. Incite the other party to anger and cause an argument or 2. Help them seek out their comrades-in-arms so that they have someone to commiserate with. Seeing one on a vehicle makes me think “close minded political wannabe,” but if they have more than one sticker, I start to put them in the “uh oh, crazy political fanatic” category and I want to stay completely away from them. From what I’ve learned from conversations with people like this is they are akin to religious zealots and anything I would say is a waste of my breath as they would not listen, but preach only about what they feel is their party’s virtues. I do not align myself with any particular party affiliation and do not see the need to force my opinion on other poor unsuspecting drivers whose eyes just happen to be forced to stare at my rear end bumper. As I tell anyone who asks, “I can think for myself, therefore, I am an Independent.” Oops, is there a political party for that? Maybe I misspoke then. 🙂
Lastly, the ones that I make sure to steer clear away from:
The Be-liev-ers. …the aforementioned religious zealots. To me, these are the ones who seriously deceive themselves into believing they are putting out a message that will make someone change their evil, sinnin’ ways. Does one whose sticker says, “I’m ProLife” or “I’m Pro Choice” really think they are going to change the others’ mind. Or, “Warning: In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned.” Now really, what does that say? How is that supposed to affect the reader? Is this person just bragging on their faith and they want the driver behind them to know just how good a person they are? Is the motivation behind it to make a reader go ask the driver just how they too can be a part of this “rapture”? I doubt it is the latter and lean toward the former, but I can tell you what it says to me…stay away from this crazy person! However, if a driver has more than one religiously phrased bumper sticker on their car, and I have seen some covered in them, along with writing all over their car, the car’s windows and placards atop it, this person goes into the Absolutely crazy – Stay the eff Away from Them category.
Now that I’ve vented, let me get serious, is there anyone out there who was truly moved or motivated to change by reading a bumper sticker? If I am completely wrong, I’d really like to know. I would love to read your story or point of view on any of bumper sticker diatribe. 🙂