October 27, 2005

What’s that on your bumper?

What’s that on your bumper?

I was in traffic this morning and I happened to look down at the bumper of the truck in front of me and saw the bumper sticker that read “Horn Broken, Watch For Finger.” That made me laugh. Not because it was funny, but how sad it was that someone saw that in the store, paid money for it, got home, probably showed it to a couple of friends, and then decided he thought it was funny enough to display on a $20,000 vehicle.

That’s almost as funny as a “Keep Austin Weird” bumper sticker on a Lexus.

I have to go on record in saying that I think most bumper stickers are really, really dumb anyways. They don’t really serve any purpose other than devaluing your vehicle. I even request that dealers take their “logo” off the car when I purchase one. I’m paying a lot of money for this car, and I’m not going to pay you to advertise your business.

I admit, when I was a teenager I had a few stickers on the back window of my truck. I thought I was an activist with my “Not Black, Not White – Human” sticker and I had my personal “symbol” the Ankh..the Egyptian symbol for everlasting life. Plus I had my attitude sticker with the “Freedom of Expression, If You Don’t Like It, Don’t Look.”

An argument can be made that I should take my own sticker advice and shut up about it, as it’s the person’s property and all that jazz… but c’mon people, some of these are just plain dumb. Plus, I was a TEENAGER. The folks I speak of here are adults.

This article won’t mention promotions stickers for bands, stores, magazines, or Web sites..because if you want to turn your car into an advertisement… it’s all good. I guess sticking a Cradle of Filth sticker on your car is better than getting that “Gene Simmons” tattoo your mom has. At least you can get rid of the sticker when the band goes away or becomes an embarrassment… besides most folks who do this are TEENAGERS so they have an excuse.

Back on topic…You have your political candidate stickers… which I guess have their place…but you either have to peel off the day after the election or end up with a “Mondale/Ferraro” stain for life.

Of course there are some old vehicles that have been turned into political machines or “hippie vans”… and that’s actually kind of cool. These are usually older cars or trucks or VW buses and something just looks right about doing that to a car like that. Peace, brother.

Then there’s the newer model that has “Abortion is Murder” stickers on it… and to those I have to say two things. One, it’s sad that you feel the need to broadcast such a message without knowing circumstances and trying to understand the reasons people have before casting that stone. Secondly, I think I’ll paraphrase George Carlin who once said something like… have you noticed that the bulk of the women who are against abortion are ones you wouldn’t want to sleep with in the first place?

Jumping off MY political high horse…I’ve seen one that says “Don’t Blame Me, I didn’t Vote For Him.” What an egotistical maniac that guy is. It’s as if I thought that the balance of the presidency was in the dude in the black Volvo’s hands until I read that sticker.

Anyone with a Coors Light/Budweiser/Shiner or a pot leaf sticker on your car… you realize that you’ve just advertised that you may have some kind of illegal substance on your person and that gives a cop just cause to search for it? Think of that before you stick your “Bad Cop No Donut” sticker next to your “Farfromsober” one.

This next sentence is dedicated to all of those people who put their kids name on the back of the car. Idiot. Now strangers know what your little ones name is… and once your kid exits your car strangers know what they look like. Why don’t you put your address and the fact that you leave the key under the rock next to the step?

I admit when I was a teenager I thought stickers like “My kid beat up your honors student” were funny… but now that I have a child, I can’t imagine instilling that in a child’s brain…jokingly or not.

Now, if used correctly, some bumper stickers are funny as hell. One time I was driving down IH-35 and an old truck passed me up with a big rusty gaping hole in the side panel. Next to it was a sticker that said “Shit Happens.” Brilliant. Now it that sticker was on the bumper next to nothing else.. it’d be a really stupid sticker.

I do happen to have a sticker taped to the back window of my truck right now that says “The Left Lane Is For Passing.” I put it up there for the times that I move from the fast lane to the center lane to give the fast lane up…only to realize the idiot that was going 90mph behind me has changed lanes too… and is now tailgating me and yelling at me because I blocked them from passing illegally on the right. It’s my way of directing traffic, because I am always right.

Of course, after writing this column, I think I’m going to take it down, because I think I just annoyed myself.
Until next time.


Anonymous said...

My favorite is the "In Case of Rapture, this Vehicle will be Unoccupied" sticker. Love those.

BTW, I don't understand your statement 'that’s almost as funny as a “Keep Austin Weird” bumper sticker on a Lexus.' So you can't be "weird," or a true Austinite if you are successful?

Anonymous said...

Well, you assume that "successful" and "lexus" are the same thing.

Sean Claes said...

Well put Kristina.

Chris, I guess my point really wasn't that funny if I have to explain it.

Lexus + "Keep Austin Weird" = funny

That's about it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sean Claes said...

Dear last person who posted,

If you have anything to say about the Blog...please do so. If you'd like to respond to people who have left a message about the blog, please contact that person personally.

I know I did.

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween.

Anonymous said...

Best truck bumper sticker: Yes, this is my truck. No, I won't help you move.

I also like the Austin trend of Waterloo Records cut-ups.

I read somewhere that position bumper-stickers have more effect contra whatever they espouse.

Oh, lighten up, too.

Anonymous said...

Folks, if you can't understand why Keep Austin Weird + Lexus is mutually exclusive, then you are probably a carpet-bagger who does not understand what it meant to grow up in the fabulous oasis that once was Austin.

I grew up in Austin in the 70's and 80's. I remember the days when Matthew McConaughey-style freakiness was not shocking and the Republicans had yet to rape the Hill Country.

As for you, robbie, maybe you should check out Operation Truth. "I always flip off every car...with a K/E sticker?" Maybe you'd be happier living in Waco, maybe DFW. Please consider it.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous, I am no carpetbagger. I was born and raised here and grew up here during the 70s & 80s also. I can appreciate the hippie vibe that made Austin what it is, but I don't think that owning a Lexus means you cannot be part of that, or being finacially successful means that you are not entitled to participate in or contribute to the Austin Experience. Don't let Bohemian Snobbery infiltrate the spirit of Keep Austin Weird is all I'm saying.

Also, saying things like "Republicans raped the hill country" is akin to robbie's flipping off every K/E car. That's the attitude I'm talking about--not helpful. Spark a fatty and calm down.

Sean Claes said...

See? bumper stickers evoke anger.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sean, re: abortion bumper sticker -
Umm... I think George Carlin used a more graphic word than 'sleep with'!
PS. George's bumper sticker says 'My other car is a piece of shit, too'.