Hissy Fit - May 2022 - Bumper Sticker Logic: Honk if You get It

...because everyone needs one every once in awhile


May 2022 Issue
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen

Sometimes life’s best mantras and philosophies
can be found on the backs of people’s automobiles in the form
of bumper stickers.

While I’m not a bumper sticker fan myself, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading others’. I understand the art of the bumper sticker. Think about it, they can make perfect strangers laugh, think, relate, or become angered all in a small 10-by-3-inch ride-by. They are like baby billboards that enter your life for mere seconds and give you insight into exactly who you are dealing with next to you on the road. For instance, if you’re behind someone with a sticker that says “Keep Honking, I’m Reloading,” they’ve given you a hint that you may want to pipe down.

In my past, I loved using bumper stickers for fun pranks. But being a good citizen and not wanting to permanently lose friends, I used magnets instead. There’s nothing like the reaction of a die-hard Clemson Tiger fan when he or she realizes they’ve been driving around for days sporting a Go Gamecocks magnet. It’s priceless; best prank ever! Who am I kidding? I still love doing this.

It’s also hilarious to put some sort of Democrat sticker on a Republican’s car or vice-versa, though the humor is usually fairly one-sided and not as light as an opposing football team. Be sure your friend can take a joke or never find out who did it, or you just might get slapped—but it’s totally worth it! Maybe they won’t even notice until the election is over.

Of course, there is the sticker that has recently taken America by storm—the Biden “I Did That” sticker. I have to say one thing: Americans can be good at finding humor in bad situations, such as sky-rocketing gas prices. I have seen these stickers at various Lowcountry gas stations, and I’m not sure if they make me chuckle or feel hosed. I just stay calm and pay the $68 it now takes to fill my gas tank…and then read on social media how lucky I am that we are not paying near what a gallon of Starbucks coffee would cost us. Who uses this logic? Do we buy a brick of cheese thinking we’re lucky it’s not as expensive as a brick of gold? They’re not the same kind of bricks! Here’s the deal: I don’t have to have Starbucks coffee to get to work and back. In fact, I drink my coffee each morning at home. Ok. I figured it out: I feel hosed.

I adore silly pranks. But, I understand others, perhaps even you, may be down right appalled by them. So let’s talk about those bumper stickers that can be super inspirational, funny and make people feel good.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Wag More; Bark Less: Not only is this a bumper sticker that pays tribute to the furriest of all best friends—dogs—this sticker’s goal is to help people lighten their attitude, obviously, from bad to good. And what a visual. Picture a dog so happy to see you with his little tail going 90-miles-per-hour, even if it’s just a nub (which is extra cute). It’s the ultimate happiness! This bumper sticker wants you to do more of that! Now, picture a dog barking loudly and snarling at you as its owner struggles to hold the leash so the dog doesn’t get close enough to bite. Well, this is an example of what this sticker wants you to do less of. All-in-all, this simple metaphor is a reminder to be kind and choose happiness.

Mean People Suck:
This mini-mantra is also a simple reminder to be kind, only without the cute dog reference. This one reminds mean people that no one likes their attitude. I love this sticker because of its frankness. Being mean is a choice that hurts people. There is always a nice way to solve problems, move through life and communicate with people. If you choose to do all that through meanness, then honestly, you actually do suck.

What Would Scooby Do? I am a Gen-Xer who grew up watching Scooby-Doo every Saturday morning, when cartoons were a luxury that helped stave off chores until the afternoon. The first time I saw this bumper sticker, I laughed out loud. It’s a funny question; what would Scooby-Do? We are used to seeing the much more serious bumper sticker, “What would Jesus do?” The Scooby version just gives comic relief and within seconds of reading it, your mind is automatically thinking about Scooby snacks, meddling kids and saying Rooby-Roo in sing-song over and over. Rooby-Roo!

Life is Good:
There’s never anything negative in reminding others of something positive. Basically, Life is Good, especially for us who live in the Lowcountry. We are surrounded by beauty, nature, water, delicious seafood, good schools, good roads, nice restaurants, nice people and great weather. The next time you see this sticker, take a moment to ponder just how good life really is.

The Question Isn’t Who is Going to Let Me, It’s Who is Going to Stop Me:
This is a popular Ayn Rand quote frequently seen on bumpers of cars, which is ironic, because in traffic, every doggone red light between your starting point and destination is going to stop you! That’s who (or what). Especially if you’re in a hurry. In fact, the more hurried you are, the more red lights you will encounter. Ayn Rand never knew just how poignant her philosophical pondering would become on the backs of bumpers.

And lastly:
I Bet Jesus Would Have Used His Turn Signal: Well, probably so. He is Jesus.