Stoplight Inspiration

Tyler - Gainesville, Florida
Entered on June 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I have never been a person to give something of “universal importance” or a “powerful perspective” on humanity. That’s why my belief had to be something more relaxed. When asked to look at them I found that my beliefs come from different and sometimes strange places. I was inspired by family events, holidays, and even my dog, but the most potent inspiration came from the back of the car in front of me. I believe in bringing joy to others and letting my opinions be heard. I believe in bumper stickers.

I find that bumper stickers are a way to express my beliefs frankly for the world to see. Bumper stickers are the most basic form of freedom of speech. They’re my way of telling people how I feel and what I support. From political candidates to Gainesville High School, there is a bumper sticker for everything. They allow others to see who I am, whether it’s a music lover, a dorky honor student, or even just a person with a good sense of humor. When I see someone with stickers on their car, I see who they are, whether it’s a poor starving artist driving a green van, covered with band stickers, or mom with a sticker pronouncing how proud she is of her honor student.

I always love when I’m sitting behind someone at a stoplight that has the back of their car covered with stickers. I spend the whole time reading and laughing with whoever happens to be riding with me. I find that I really connect with them because they create humor and smiles in everyday life. This is what I try to do in my life, bring a few smiles through a bit of wit. An equivalent in “bumper sticker-language” would be “My Carma ran over your Dogma.” These simple stickers leave me creeping closer and closer to the car in front of me, trying to read the one that looks funny, but was inconsiderably printed in twelve point font.

There is also something to be said about the power of bumper stickers to show the everyday realities of life. Some of the greatest truths have been printed on these simple adhesives. The phrase “shit happens” has become famous as a bumper sticker, but it carries a lot more weight than most people credit it. It epitomizes the common man and his way of dealing with the harsh realities of life. Another bumper sticker that I see a lot is “Coexist” spelt with various religious symbols. At first I simply looked at it and said, “well that’s a cool way of doing things,” but, later, I started to think about why someone needs to write that. Isn’t the goal of religion to create peace?

I wasn’t even aware of how much bumper stickers showed until I began looking at them on different levels. I wonder what kind of person other people think I am just by looking at the back of my car. I might be thought of as a hick for the hunting stickers on the back of my ’94 Ford F-150, or I could be thought of as a band geek for the marching band stickers on the back of it. All I care about is that I show who I am every time I pull out of my driveway.