Of Offensive Bumper Stickers and Car Adornments

Bumper stickers broadcast personal details about the driver, making them just one of the many great ways to judge a stranger. Jeff Merrion discusses bumper stickers annoying enough to incite road rage.

To put a bumper sticker on one’s car is not to be taken lightly; bumper stickers are the only outward sign by which other drivers can judge your political stance, taste in music, personality, and religious beliefs without discussing any of these things with you.

I chose my bumper sticker collection carefully. I didn’t want any other drivers to know my political or religious beliefs, and as such, have only four bumper stickers. Two are of my favorite bands. One is from “The Mystery Spot” in California, carefully placed to show other drivers that I am, like them, easily suckered into tourist traps. The last is a shameless advertisement for KUPS 90.1 FM. Thus, other drivers can learn about the entirety of my personality from my bumper stickers: I like music and I’ve been to California.

However, many people on the road seem to wantonly adorn their cars with stupid, confusing, contradictory, and obnoxious bumper stickers. If I had my way, they would be run off the road and impounded until the owners could find more appropriate bumper stickers. I have compiled a list of bumper stickers and car adornments that are especially tasteless. I encourage readers to deface any of these bumper stickers if they come across them in traffic.

  • “Work like you don’t need the money. Dance like no one’s watching. Love like you’ve never been hurt.”
    I have three problems with this bumper sticker. First, when I know I have enough money for the next month, work becomes a nightmare. My work ethic plunges, and I spend most of my days trying to re-learn algebra on the backs of receipts behind the register. I am sarcastic to customers, and often care little about my appearance. Second, the way I dance when no one is watching is an abomination. Sometimes I do hideous pelvic thrusts in an attempt to ascertain whether hideous pelvic thrusts are sexy when I perform them. They aren’t. If I were to try that gem of a move out at a party, I would be slapped. Finally, my first experience with love was brutal. I spent a summer listening to Gorecki’s Sorrowful Symphony and cursing my life. I learned an important lesson from that hurt. I now avoid unhealthy, codependent relationships and am better off for it.
  • “If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it and it’s in English, thank a Marine.”
    This touching little aphorism is crookedly slapped on the back of my neighbor’s F-350. It’s a good example of a bumper sticker revealing too much about a person. After reading it, I know my neighbor’s political leanings, that he is a poor representative of his political party, that he is a racist bigot who confuses his native language (an accident of culture) for national superiority, and that he is a complete idiot. It doesn’t help that he also puts up tasteless Christmas decorations every year that depict Santa Claus dangling with his pants down from the rain gutter. So thank you, Marines, for keeping us from having to speak Mexican or Middle-Eastern or some shit like that.
  • “Save the Manatee.”
    I know it’s heartless, but I have a hard time sympathizing with an animal that dies most frequently by swimming directly into boat propellers.
  • Perhaps the most ridiculous items I have ever seen adorn a car are the large, fake, rubber testicles that men in pickups attach to their trucks. The rubber testicles are truly baffling; worst of all, they are often blue. Are they there to demonstrate that the driver has testicles? If so, congratulations on having a fundamental part of the male anatomy. Are they an ironic way of poking fun at men who buy cars as decoys for diminutive sex organs? If so, ew. No one in the world wants to see a humongous, blue, rubber scrotum hanging from anything, ever.

While he excels in most other areas, Jeff Merrion’s spatial logic falls within the lower third percentile of United States citizens. He is a Religious Studies major and, as such, has a long life of administrative assistantship awaiting him. To potential employers: Jeff makes a mean cup of coffee.