This I Believe

Holly - Terre Haute, Indiana
Entered on February 6, 2008

We’ve all seen the stories about road rage, and I agree that is a problem that is growing worse all the time. My own road rage is occasionally overwhelming. I think some of it is due to the fact that I am almost always in a hurry, but I believe most of the problem lies with bumper stickers.

The whole point of bumper stickers, it seems, is to tell complete strangers something very private about yourself in a very public way. It’s like reality TV on a very local level. For example, the woman who has a “BITCH” sticker on her back window needs to tell me that she considers herself to be a bitch? Or is it a warning label put on her car by her nearest and dearest for the rest of the world?

I was always taught it wasn’t polite to talk about politics and religion with strangers, so I’m always surprised when people want their political views to be the first thing any other driver knows about them? How many people get rear ended each year because of their political stickers? I know for a fact my dad thought anyone with a “CLINTON” sticker was an idiot right off the bat and believed that all mistakes made by that driver were indirectly caused by misguided politics.

I used to drive to work in the morning behind a fellow that had “WOMEN: YOU CAN’T LIVE WITH ‘EM, YOU CAN’T SHOOT ‘EM” on a sticker in his pick-up truck’s back window, right below a gun rack and a sticker of someone who looked like Calvin peeing on a Ford Motor Company logo. That’s an awful lot of information to put out there to an interstate full of people.

Other questions about bumper stickers include the following:

• Is it really necessary to have a bumper sticker that says, “My kid beat up your honor’s student”? How does the kid involved feel that his (or her) parent believes that the most they are capable of is to hit someone doing well?

• Is “I’m NRA and I vote” a threat?

• What exactly does “America Bless God” mean?

I find myself hating other drivers that I would probably like just fine if I met them as people rather than as driving billboards. Maybe the woman-shooter just thought that was a witty way of saying he was currently available? Perhaps the NRA guy isn’t implying he’ll shoot me if he sees me at the polls and I don’t agree with his politics?

My favorite bumper sticker moment, however, has to be when I was pulling out of the grocery store parking lot one day. I was edging forward preparing to merge into traffic when a single car shot forward, with the horn honking and an arm sticking out the driver’s window, middle finger extended. Apparently, from the guy’s bumper sticker, that’s what he believed Jesus would have done.