Before status updates on social media, bumper stickers on cars acted as a person's semi-permanent status update. Growing up in a family who all drove Volvos, bumper stickers of the liberal variety would have been a perfect accoutrement to our vehicles. But adorning your Volvo with stickers was an unwritten "no no" in the Menachem household. Because of that, I admired the various messages people displayed.
My first bumper sticker, was pushed on me by my kids. All the other parents had bumper stickers with the name of their Miami school, and so I agreed to conform. The sticker was low-key, and reminded me of a fancy boarding school logo. If I was creating an image of a preppy Boston mom, I did a great job (the bike racks helped to complete the image). Unfortunately, an issue continued to plague me after I branded my car with the Waldorf logo. Texts, phone calls and emails announcing my various activities began swarming in -- and only because with this sticker, I was easily recognized. The double parking, the crooked parking, the late night pizza eating...I was being watched. And that was the last of my personal relationship with a bumper sticker. But I really, and I'm talking really appreciate a good bumper sticker.
What do I love? I love the passion in one's beliefs. I love the pride in one's kids. I love the faith in religion. I even love the self-righteousness. I love the comedy, even if the displayer is clueless. Mostly, I love the commitment. You see, I can't commit to a bumper sticker -- I'm a walking contradiction, and would need a dry erase board bumper sticker to keep up with my changing ideologies.
Bumper stickers allow you to show off, "Harvard," "Yale," "Stanford" etc.. the issue here: do we know if the driver really attended this ivy-league school? Personally, I would love to slap a Harvard bumper sticker on the back of my car. All the other drivers will be impressed -- I mean I graduated from HARVARD!!!! "I'd rather be knitting," "I only eat carrots," "My other mode of transport is a kayak," "I'd rather be surfing" -- whatever the case, I'm impressed..because I wish I'd rather be surfing. But we all know my bumper sticker would say "I want to say I'd rather be surfing, but I'm a wimp and scared of drowning."
I do have some favorites.... "I'm the Juan for you," "Real men love Jesus," "My boss is a Jewish carpenter" and the ultimate "stick figure family," usually on the back of a mini-van. Now, I don't know about other parents, but I try to hide my motherhood as much as possible on the road. Let the other drivers assume, the cool person with the wild hair, blasting Lauryn Hill is on her way to a photo shoot at Ben Harper's music studio or embarking on a road trip to meet her guru. No need to draw attention. And I hate to point this out, but if you're driving a mini-van, we all know you have offspring.
The stick figure family, while comedically entertaining, is not necessary. I'm almost thinking a fake bumper sticker would be appropriate in this scenario -- I won't judge -- we know you would "rather be kayaking," and that's why you have a mini-van to fit your large vessel.
So yesterday, I walked by a bumper sticker that made me laugh, considering my inner dialogue regarding the "stick figure family." With no political statement or religious meaning, this bumper sticker was clear and simple, "Nobody cares about your stick figure family." I'm not mean, but this really made me laugh. I care about your family and I actually like learning about their various hobbies and interests, while I'm driving with my two assistants (i.e. my kids) to a photo shoot.