I suppose my disdain for bumper stickers could be traced to my formative years. My mother insisted on proudly displaying a "Willie Nelson For President" sticker on one side of the rear bumper of our maroon 1977 Cutlass, and a "Honk If You Love Willie Nelson" sticker on the other side.
And sometimes people honked!
Several years ago when I was at a different job, some girl -- for reasons unbeknownst to me -- bought a "Pimp Daddy" bumper sticker and gave to me one day at work. I did not display it on my vehicle. I did not see the point. For in my mind, having the sticker on my car made me no more or less a pimp daddy than I already was. Also, there would have been questions from my mother. And I didn't feel all that comfortable driving it to church like that.
I do not care for bumper stickers. I do not generally find them all that clever or witty. And I do not think their little sayings are influencing anyone to change their opinions or views. It's a stretch for me to believe that JoeSUV is going to sell his car, start biking to work and become an avid recycler just because of something he read on the back of a '94 Geo Metro.
I'm also ashamed to admit that I have been and continue to be guilty of sticker profiling. If I see a car with a bumper sticker or stickers on it, I immediately stereotype the person in that car. How I stereotype them depends on the type of sticker, the number and placement of stickers, and how many of them are outdated.
For example, peace-loving environmentally-conscious people with more than five bumper stickers tend to not be all that concerned with washing their car. And the more stickers they have, the less concerned they seem to be.
What? Don't hate me. If I do not stick, do I not bleed? Maybe I can go to bumper sticker sensitivity training or something.
All that aside, my #1 issue with bumper stickers -- other than the tackiness -- is their humor, or the lack thereof. I feel like I have a pretty broad sense of humor. But at least 95% of bumper stickers that are supposed to be witty only make me cringe. I don't find them funny in the least. Not even in that corny-joke-that-dad-tells-in-front-of-everyone-at-Thanksgiving-dinner sort of way. And as a sorta-wanna-be comedian, it bothers me greatly to think that someone somewhere is laughing at some of these things.
I don't even really think bumper stickers were intended to be around this long. It is my personal belief that they were originally designed to be a passing fad. Like "Baby On Board" signs, smoking, and Survivor. In any kind of movie or show from the future that I watch, there are no bumper stickers. I don't recall any "My Klingon beat up your honor student" sticker on the back of the Enterprise.
Over the past thirty-some-odd years, I have read hundreds and hundreds of bumper stickers. Unfortunately, I have forgotten nearly all of them. But here are a few I've seen recently that I would like to examine more closely:
Drunk Like Bible Times - I went back and forth between thinking this one was a pro-alcoholic sticker or a religious one, but I think I've settled on the latter. I never came away from reading the Bible thinking that drinking and revelry was a central theme. I don't recall reading the verse "Gad and Asher gotteth plastered around the ninth hour" anywhere.
Charlton Heston Is My President - This one was also a bit nebulous, as I didn't recall Heston ever running for the oval office. Then a light bulb went out. No really, one did. In my office just now. That was a little freaky. It was the Gad and Asher line, wasn't it?
Anyway, I figured out what it must be. Charlton must have played the President of the United States on some old movie and this poor, misguided soul got confused and thought it was real life. I understand. Happens to me all the time with General Hospital. I sped up to try and explain things to the guy, but his truck seemed to be lacking any semblance of a muffler, so he wasn't able to hear me.
Well Was Full, So I Came Back - We saw this one on the way home from the beach this summer and it completely befuddled me. Then, weeks later, it hit me like a bolt out of the blue. It said "HELL was full," not "Well." Oh!!! Well that... still... isn't... really... Fail!
Now before you go calling me the grinch who stole your W The President sticker, let me say that there are some good things about bumper stickers. For example, the smell. They are a rare and delectable olfactory treat.
And there is the occasional cleverly concocted witticism printed onto a piece of flexible plastic with adhesive backside that even I find irresistibly hilarious. For example, here's one I came across on the internet the other day that amuses me to no end:
"Remember, there are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand binary numbers, and those who don't."
That's gold! Granted, I would never stick it on my car, but that's not the point. Or actually, I guess it kinda is.
"Now they ain't made the sticker for my bumper just yet, but I brake for brunettes..."