Wednesday, April 22, 2009

They Say You Shouldn't Judge a Book By Its Cover...

But sometimes, it's really hard not to judge a person by their bumper stickers.

Recently, I was in a parking lot and walked past a car bearing two bumper stickers.  The first one proclaimed, "It's not about whether you pick your nose, it's where you put the boogers".  The second one was a political bumper sticker apparently featuring a 2008 Presidential candidate that I'd never heard of (and I followed political coverage enough to know about early candidates like Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Mitt Romney).  Alongside this unknown politician, were the faces of Obama and McCain.  The unknown politician's face smiled out from the bumper sticker, while McCain and Obama's faces had been decorated with marker moustaches, glasses, and whatever else.  If you were ever in second grade, you know the juvenile nonsense that I'm talking about.  There was some dumb saying on that bumper sticker, too, which went in one eye and out the other.
I had an immediate mental image of the kind of person who put those stickers on their car.  Not even a physical image (although I'm guessing either a teenager or early-20-something type person) but more of a personality image.  I have to admit, I hoped I'd see the car's owner but it didn't happen.
When I was in high school, my first car was a 1987 Dodge Aries.  There was something special in the paint used on that car model.  Something special that made the paint fleck off in huge chips.  I could spot a fellow Dodge Arian from a mile away simply by noting the paint job (or lack thereof).
In a misguided attempt to hide the ugliness of the exterior, I decorated the back bumper with some bumper stickers.  A big, colorful flower.  "Peace" or "Love" or some other hippie-ish saying, written in colorful, glittery, bubbly font.  I think those stickers drew even more attention to the car.  I know for a fact it drew more attention from the police, because I got pulled over twice in that car for "speeding".  There was no speeding involved either time, and I was let go with a "warning".  I know now the police were simply looking for an excuse to pull me over, because...come on.  If you see a car like that, don't you assume the driver probably does a little wacky tobaccy sometimes?  (And for the record, I've never smoked any kind of a cigarette.) 
Like it or not, a car's bumper stickers say a lot about the driver - but not always what the driver is intending.  These days, I go au naturel.

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