I have never once put a bumper sticker on my car--until now. It's a bit like wearing your heart on your sleeve, something I was taught, as a young English male, was never proper to do. The polite thing is to keep your opinions to yourself in all circumstances. And besides, who wants to drive around these days with an ad for a Kerry/Edwards ticket on one's rear end? Too painful. Or worse, Bush/Cheney. You'd risk brickbats, rotten eggs and tomatoes, or at the very least rude gestures on the freeway. (Though I like the simple W with a diagonal line through it.)
I do sympathize with a good number of the messages I see. I'm not opposed to peace, and all messages that signal support for that noble end never fail to warm my heart. I just worry that as soon as an eternal verity morphs into a bumper sticker, it degenerates into a cliche. "Support Our Troops" suggests so much that's different--and to me unacceptable--than what it's message purports to say that it makes my skin creep. I get a good laugh out of some bumper stickers, most recently "Honk if you like thinking about conceptual art." But once you get the joke... do you really want to be sharing your laudable sense of humor with every other driver on the freeway until your car finally makes the journey to its just reward in the junk yard? For me, no thanks. For the same reason, I personally reject tattoos.
Nature conservancy is good. I want to save the planet. I want to save the whales. I worry about the bees, and I do hug trees, of course, whenever the opportunity presents itself. As for those random acts of kindness... they used to be a refreshing bagatelle, but they have long since had their charm eroded by over-familiarity. Or am I just being cynical again?
Having begun this entry earlier, I took more than usual interest in the rear ends of cars as Ellie and I took our morning walk around Silver Lake. A lot of traffic there, believe me, and a lot of parked cars on the streets. I was surpised to see that only a tiny fraction of them were adorned with stickers. Perhaps they're going the way of the ill-starred John Kerry. Out of the literally hundreds of free advertising spaces, I saw only five in use. "WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER." Certainly. One of those verities I was mentioning above. "USC MOM"--a higher education version of the "I'm a Proud Parent" syndrome. "Shirley Chisholm For President." No kidding! (She ran in 1972, and died on January 1, 2005--having lived long enough to witness the current assault on the U.S. constitution which she so nobly served.) One (very small) JOHN KERRY 04 sticker. And an advertisement for CATNAP, with a www address for easy contact.
Anyway, here's the point. I received from a friend the gift of the only bumper sticker I have ever actually attached to my car. Here it is, on my super energy-saving, self-righteously environment-conscious car. (It's name itself is a bumper sticker, no?)
Okay, accuse me of wearing my heart on my sleeve. I just feel comfortable with this one. First off, it asks a question, it doesn't come up with the answer. It invites contemplation. I like that. Second, it's modest both in scale and color. Third, it's playful--a parody of the whole WWJD thing. And fourth... well, I like it.
What do you think? Do you have a bumper sticker? Kucinich, anyone? (I thought he was great in the debate last night!)