Bumper Cars With A Message

Published 3:34 pm Thursday, September 29, 2011

Have you thought about bumper stickers lately?

The peel and stick stickers once were the staple of cardom.

Recently, I went for a walk about perusing the posteriors of vehicles to check out bumper stickers and came up with an observation.

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They aren't as popular as what they once were.

Yes, there still were some affixed to what now would be the appropriate spot (since chrome bumpers have gone the way of dodo birds) on what would perhaps be better called a plastic bumper covering. But there just weren't that many to see.

It used to be a pin-up spot for one's favorite football team, some funny one-liner for the driver behind you to enjoy or even to relay that the owner of the vehicle once had a vacation to some cool locale.

Now, it seems there's only a few who stick to such staples.

<!– 1upcrlf2 –>Where did they go? While we can't say for sure minus billions of dollars to conduct some sort of survey, but I have some guesses.

First, well, there's that bumper thing. There's no chrome to attach the sticker to. Nowadays, bumpers just blend in with the back of the vehicle without a bright shiny dividing line and it just seems odd sticking a sticker onto a plastic would-be bumper. Plus it's never a good idea to just apply it straight onto the paint job.

Then, too, there seems to be a trend that those who still apply the applyable tend to drive older vehicles. I guess those who drive newer vehicles just can't go there.

And, perhaps oddly, those who still advertise seem to prefer the back glass. I don't know if it's a good idea to potentially enhance a blind spot for the rear view mirror, but it makes practical sense. When the sticker's faded, curled or simply gone, it's a lot easier to divorce yourself of the glue with the scrape of a scraper.

Personally, I have never really cared much for putting a bumper sticker on the back of my vehicle, but I can't help but read those others have placed on their vehicles when pausing at stop lights. They often deteriorate, leave a sticky residue, flake partially off or fade into its painted surroundings.

But I still like the concept behind them. It's nice to know that the driver has an honor roll student at so-and-so middle school.

Or that they love horses, their Shar Pei, Labrador or whatever breed of family dog.

Went to school at some obscure college.

Had a good time at the Outer Banks (where apparently anyone who goes on vacation and likes bumper stickers goes).

Support the troops.

Like the Redskins (had to work that one in there, though I can't remember the last time I saw such a sticker).

Voted for this or that candidate (however, when they leave such stickers on long into their guy or gal's term of office, you sometimes wonder why the driver isn't embarrassed for everyone to know they made such a poor choice).

Bumper stickers speak loudly.

Sometimes it's funny.

Sometimes it's serious.

Sometimes, it's just stupid (“Be Alert. The World Needs More Lerts”), but they always say something about the driver of the vehicle in front to make you think, laugh or just cringe. Words are words and it's hard not to notice and read them when they're right in front of you, which is probably why someone came up with the bright idea to put stickers on bumpers any way. (Hey, there's nothing like a captive audience.)

While there may be less of them than in years past, I found there is still a smattering of just about everything out there on vehicles parked near Longwood – from promoting the University's “Lancers” to a “Give Blood Play Rugby” red beauty. Then there was this one I found: “Do Not Meddle In the Affairs of Dragons…for You are Crunchy & Good with Ketchup”.

Not sure what's up with the odd capitalization, but it sounds like some good advice.