The Culture of Bumper Stickers

photophotophotophotophotophotophoto Last July 21st, I wrote about T-Shirts. Check it out in my archive section- you will laugh. I outlined the “Americana” of T-Shirts and the rules and codes that apply to this iconic piece of American clothing. Today, I would like to poke some fun at another mainstay of “Americana” on the eve of our Independence Day- the bumper sticker. There are many reasons that folks these days plaster their vehicles with stickers so lets look at them categorically shall we?

The Political Activist- these are the people who proudly display their stickers on their bumpers or windows telling the world who they voted for or for whom that they did vote. I still see Obama 2008 “Change” stickers on vehicles. Hey? We get it. You voted for the winner, maybe twice, and your old Volvo reflects your political agenda and we respect that.

The Folks for a Cause- we all tend to see the same types of cars( old Volvos, vans, Euro-Vans, classic sports cars) adorned with those stickers promoting a cause. “Buy Locally” – nothing wrong with sustainability and if you are going to plaster something on your car, this is ok. Some tend to be a little out there but neat on the cool factor- ” Free Tibet”. Now it would be nice to see the Dalai Lama make a return and perhaps the Chinese government would be ousted, but it probably won’t happen. But this guy is glad that you know that he is in touch with international issues as he chugs down the road advocating a cause and wanting you to buy organically raised chickens from his granola crunching uncle’s farm.

The Vacationers- these are the proud folks who want you to know that they have visited or visit regularly the Keys or Hilton Head. Like the rules of the T-shirt, the farther away from home that the destination sticker reads, the cooler. You don’t want to waste good vehicle space with a local vacation spot, you want the world to know that you have made the effort to visit someplace exotic or expensive. These vacationers are careful with their placement of the sticker. They want that nice round beach sticker or the well recognized Harbor Towne( with an e) Lighthouse strategically placed on their left rear window of their expensive SUV.

The Athlete- this guy wants you to know that he has completed a marathon with a subtle round sticker that reads 26.2 K. Or the new guy or gal that has just completed his or her first half with the sticker that reads- 13.1. The Ultra guys and gals have that 50K sticker or the well placed Ironman Finisher sticker on their SUV with the bike rack and canoe rack visible at all times-even in the winter. There is the cyclist who plasters every sticker he can find on his roof rack front panel. These folks put every swag sticker from every cycling manufacturer on that front panel along with their favorite radio station sticker placed alongside of their “Dog’s Breath Ale” marker prominently placed front and center. Fill in stickers are placed on the panel as the years go on but they tend to be smaller and more insignificant and just a space filler. Bottom line- they are proud of their accomplishments and when they park in that church lot, they want the other parkers to silently admire them with a nod of approval that says, “wow- he did the Ironman!!!” With a smile, the athlete swaggers into church sitting like a proud Pharasee knowing that his accomplishments are out there through the iconic sticker.

The Skier- this guy always has an SUV with the roof caddy that houses his equipment safely to the slopes. The caddy has every ski area that has been visited on display carefully placing the resort that is farthest away in plain view. Maybe he has heli-skied and has the coveted CMH or Mike Wiegle sticker in view? Maybe he is affiliated with the National Ski Patrol or the Professional Ski Instructors of America? He or she want to display that so that their dedication is appreciated. Maybe that is part of their rap in the parking lot as they say,” ski here often?”

The Shameless Self promoter- the clown who displays his blog site on his bumper fishing for followers for his blog riddled with drivel?

How about the dog lovers? Look at the example above of the person who loves his Italian Greyhound. Does the dog bark with an accent? Maybe he cooks a mean pasta? Not sure, but the owner wants us to know that they appreciate the ethnicity of their canine friend. How about ” My dog is smarter than your honor student?” Really?

Finally- lets talk about putting stickers on at all shall we? There are lots of people who value their vehicles because they make a statement about how they have arrived. They buy or lease an expensive vehicle and would never think of lowering their pride to put a sticker on their car- reducing the perceived financial worth. How plebian to place a bumper sticker on a car. “Wow- Muffy- we need another wax on the Beemer dear!!!” Then there are guys like me. I am all of the above except a dog person. Dogs like me- I taste like chicken. I don’t have any dog stickers on my Jeep. But I do have ski area stickers, publication stickers, blog stickers, in short- I have always been a sticker guy. I may age chronologically but I will never mature. If there is a space on the rear window or the bumper, I will use it. I have a rust spot rearing its ugly self and it may be covered with a micro brew sticker shortly. I have stickers in waiting to replace old or faded ones. You see, I am the kind of guy who loads mulch up to the roof in my Jeep. I put firewood up to the roof in my Jeep. My wife says that I kill our vehicles but I see them as a means to an end. I have no problem plastering stickers on my vehicle. So when you see the 59 year old kid driving down the road, smile when you see the rust and the advertisements. The Jeep might look different the next time and I will for sure be wearing a T-Shirt from a far away destination to keep with the rules. Happy Fourth, wear a cool T-shirt and plaster something funky on your car- will ya? Thanks for reading.

11 thoughts on “The Culture of Bumper Stickers

  1. This is all a little too accurate. I would never put a sticker on my car – I don’t need people to judge me one way or the other!

  2. Janet McCloskey says:

    Good blog Dear๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Pete Hilton says:

    Good stuff Pat – guess I don’t have any stickers because I haven’t accomplished anything. Happy 4th!

  4. Erin says:

    Amusing. I enjoyed your blog this AM. I am guilty of a dog sticker “My Dog Barks Black and Gold” on the back of my Jeep. Guess that is a two-fer. Anyway, thanks for a great start to the Fourth. Have a great day.

  5. oclv454 says:

    Me likey the “Chutes” sticker

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