FINAL THOUGHT: Sticky subjects

bumper-stickers

At the risk of sounding like a stuck-in-the-past bore, I wish someone would bring back bumper stickers.

I’m talking real bumper stickers with messages that make you laugh, think or grind your teeth.

Thirty-five years ago, when I was learning to keep mom’s Buick Estate wagon between the white lines on Indiana roads, every car had a bumper sticker.

And pickups, well, they were rolling billboards.

Lots of F-150s had the whole bumper covered. There was hardly room for a license plate after you stated your seed corn preference (DeKalb and Pioneer ran neck-and-neck around Greentown and Windfall), your pickup modifications (Hurst shifters for rich boys; Thrush mufflers for us po’ boys), and an added funny such as “I’m The Only Hell My Momma Raised.”

These days I can drive from Arcadia to Zellwood without seeing a bumper sticker — or at least a clever one. Lots of stick families, deer heads and Salt Life decals, but seldom a message that makes me smile or heat up a couple of brain cells.

Today’s car owners don’t have much to say. Or maybe they’re afraid of offending someone.

Just once I’d love to pull up to a stoplight and be greeted by a thought-provoking message such as “Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost Too.” Or “If You Don’t Like My Driving, Get Off the Sidewalk.”

Shucks, I’d settle for an STP sticker.

Instead, I’m bombarded with all sorts of variations of the “My Child Is An Honor Student,”  “My Child is Citizen of the Month,” “My Child Beat Up Your Honor Student,” “My Jack Russell is Smarter Than Your Honor Student.”

All right, enough already.

Actually, I don’t mind if you brag on your child. Student of the Month is a big deal. I know, I never was one.

But using a sticker to tell the world you have children? That’s different. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy you’re celebrating family — unless you’re trumpeting how fertile you are. If that’s the case, I ask you to think about couples unable to have children.

Procreation is a God-given gift but it’s not a badge of honor. Just about anyone can make babies. Exhibit A: Nadya Suleman, aka Octomom. Exhibit B: Michael and Dina Lohan. Your honor, I move we strike stick families from all passenger vehicles.

As for deer heads and Salt Lifers, knock yourself out hunting Bambi’s daddy and unwinding with a fishing pole on a bobbing boat, but I’m not impressed.

Your deer head and Salt Life stickers don’t restore my faith in mankind. They just make me feel … well, bad. Thanks for reminding me I have to work while you go play.

Old-time bumper stickers rarely made me feel blue. Many made me laugh. Some were downright inspirational.

Today’s window decals are nothing more than labels … and unimaginative ones at that.

Calvin urinating on the logo of an NFL team was kinda funny — the first 10 times. Twenty-five years later, not so much.

Back in the day, we said it loud and proud with bumper stickers.

“Don’t Laugh, it’s Paid For”… “Welcome to Florida, Now Go Home”… “I Brake For No Reason”… “Honk If Something Falls Off”… “Make Love, Not War”… “One Day At A Time”… “Keep On Truckin.’”

Now those were bumper stickers!

True, some messages were offensive. “Horn Broken … Watch for Finger,” “Honk if You’re Horny,” and “Keep Honking, I’m Reloading” probably needed to be retired.

Come to think of it, there were a lot of objectionable bumper stickers back in the day.

Then again, so many were funny. “Get Too Close and I’ll Flip A Booger on Your Windshield” … “DY-N-O-MITE!”… “Win With Nixon.”

C’mon, you gotta giggle.

Driving was more fun when we were able to laugh at ourselves — and each other.

Now we slap messages like “COEXIST” on our cars. What’s fun about that?

When did we become so serious? So hypersensitive?

Or maybe you’re afraid of messing up the finish on the wrap-around piece of plastic where chrome bumpers used to be. If so, use clear tape to affix the message that proclaims, “This is who I am, and I’m darn proud of it!” Should peel off easily when you trade in the car.

There’s no excuse not to sport a mobile message. Did you know there are websites that allow you to design your own bumper sticker? So express yourself, old-school style. Get creative. Tell us who you are. I promise I won’t be offended.

Knock yourself out. Just remember, “Keep On Truckin’” has been taken.

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