Bumper Crop

February 20, 2004

I don’t see nearly as many bumper stickers as I used to. I don’t know why this is. Maybe it’s because I’m no longer a teenager and don’t hang around with other teenagers who, having gotten their first cars, took advantage of the bumper as their first real means of self-expression. Although I didn’t have a license my parents did buy me a car in anticipation that I would get one soon. The car was a 1968 Mannar, the only Sri Lankan car. I have no idea how it got to North America, but I suspect someone drove it over. Three months after I plastered a bumper sticker on it that said, "Beam me up, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here" the engine spontaneously burst into flames. This happened while the car was parked and turned off, thus proving the point.

Then there was my friend Jim who had a bumper sticker on the back of his car – a 1972 four-door Mammoth, avocado green – that said, "Is that your face or did your neck throw up?" He wasn’t responsible for that. It was his eight-year old cousin who stuck that bumper sticker on the back of his car, which answers the question, Why manufacture a bumper sticker that only eight-year olds, or people with equivalent mentality, find funny when they can’t legally drive? Actually I think the reason eight-year olds are prevented from driving has nothing to do with their ability, but because of a fear of what kind of bumper stickers they’d put on cars. They wouldn’t be content with something tasteful, like a bumper sticker promoting their favorite sports team – although that raises an even bigger question. If you have a favorite sports team, think about how much money they make, then ask yourself, Why am I paying five bucks for a piece of adhesive that provides them free advertising? There are limits even to fan loyalty, you know.

Of course some bumper stickers almost qualify as a public service – like the ones that say, "If you can read this you’re driving too close. Either that or you’re walking by my car in a parking lot and stopped to read this, but please don’t get too close or you might set off the car alarm. You’re probably not the sort of person who would steal a car, but you know how annoying it can be listening to someone’s alarm going off." I did see a bumper sticker like that in a parking lot. Fortunately I was carrying a magnifying glass so I could read it.

And I guess it does show that our priorities are in the right place that I still see those bumper stickers that say, "My child is an honor student at Millard Fillmore Junior Elementary Secondary School". Unfortunately some parents have to set their standards lower, so you see a lot more, "My child is a slightly above average student", and even more of the ones that just say, "My child at least shows up for school". The one that bugs me, though, is the one that says, "My child beat up your honor student". In ten or fifteen years those same people will have to have bumper stickers that say, "My child got parole at Longshanks State Prison".

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

There were four men in a Minneapolis hospital waiting room whose wives were in labor.

The nurse came out and announced to the first father, "Congratulations, you have twins!"

"What a coincidence," said the father. "I work for the Minneapolis Twins baseball team!"

A little while later, the nurse came out and told the second father, "You are the father of triplets."

"Wow," replied the second father. "I work for 3M Corporation!"

The nurse came out again and said to the third father, "Your wife had quadruplets!"

"WOW! What a coincidence!" said the third father. "I work for Four Seasons Hotels."

At this point, the fourth father fainted and dropped to the floor. When he came to, everyone asked him what caused him to lose consciousness.

He replied, "I work for Seven-Up!"

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