Bumper sticker hysteria

Don't get my mom started on bumper stickers. Her view of having a bumper sticker is similar to her take on having a tattoo: eventually you get bored of it, and you're stuck with it forever. "Why would anyone want to devalue their car like that?" she'll demand. She even thinks those "Proud Parent of an Honor Student at such-and-such School" are evil because they force parents to choose between wrecking their car or their child's self-esteem.

(Fortunately, those stickers grew popular after I'd already graduated from college.)


At any rate, Mom's vehement bumper sticker views pricked my curiosity on a local level. What messages are so important to Durango drivers that they'll "devalue" their cars?

Soon thereafter as I walked to work, I got a laugh when I saw a car with the bumper sticker "Plants and animals disappear to make room for your fat ass!" parked near one with "Cat The Other White Meat."

I decided to start writing this stuff down. I passed a Subaru that read, "This car protected by anti-theft sticker," and it went straight into the notebook. Same with "Gone Crazy Back Soon" and "Bad ass girls drive bad ass toys" (the bad ass in question was driving a pale blue Honda).

Inevitably, politics emerged as a common theme. "I'm pro-salmon and I vote" stuck out among lots of "United We Stand"/"United We Stand Against War" stickers. So did "My President is Charlton Heston" and "I'm against Saddam and for GW Put that in your bong and smoke it!" These sentiments were countered by "Nobody died when Clinton lied," "Ignore your rights and they will go away," and "No Love, No Peace Know Love, Know Peace."

The chauvinism/ feminism dichotomy is obviously polarized as well. I actually saw a pick-up with a confederate flag and a bumper sticker that said, "I (heart) tits" cruising around the same summer I saw "God is coming and She is pissed." I wonder what She would have thought of the sticker "Don't be shy show some thigh as you pass by" replete with drawing of a woman's legs wearing high heels. (She definitely wouldn't have approved of the driver of the vehicle, who saw me crouched with my pad behind his truck scribbling into my book and leapt into the car and threw it into reverse. I had to jump away to avoid being run over. Must not have liked my ankle-length skirt.)

Then there's the religious battle beyond the Jesus fish/Darwin fish tempest. "Got Jesus?" and "God is my copilot" contend with "God was my copilot but we crashed in the mountains, and I had to eat him."

Our town also has a wide range of general ideologies: "Eracism" is popular, as well as, "God, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am"; "Imagination is more important than knowledge Albert Einstein"; "Indians discovered America"; "Call in sick and take the day on"; "Buffalo It's Delicious!"; "My other car is an X-wing fighter"; "It's not illegal to be a biker"; "I'd rather be organic gardening"; "Bite Me."

There's support for recreation, i.e. "Climbing it rips the screams right out of your throat" and "Wild about wilderness," and against it: "Sierra Club - Take a hike to hell."

And of course, "If God's not a Bronco's fan, why are sunsets orange?" and "If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot 'em?"

I've concluded that the First Amendment is alive and well in Durango. Which is good to know, considering I work for a newspaper whose bumper sticker reads, "The Durango Telegraph : Free but not easy."

Jen Reeder



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