This story sprang to life after a slack-jawed, slouched-over youngster whipped by my truck just a few knots shy of the speed of sound. But I did manage, even with my aged eyesight, to read the bumper sticker that adorned the rear of his car.
With one of my grandsons riding along, this presented a wonderful teaching opportunity. The valves began to clack as my foot pushed the gas pedal to the floor. Truthfully this grandfather would like to say, he chased the kid down. But in all honesty, I caught his brand-new BMW with a completely crushed rear end at the next light.
“Read that bumper sticker for me, Son,” I said to my fourteen-year-old prodigy.
“Yes, sir Peeps,” my polite and well-mannered little man responded, “It says, ‘I’m Sixteen and Proud!’”
Now the old Marine that raised me would have reinforced the stupidity of the sticker by cuffing the back of my head while saying, “If you ever crash my car, you better pray there’s enough meat on your bones to crawl away from the scene and keep going.”
This now is a kinder and gentler world in which we live. So, I let grandson off with, “Don’t be that dumb and embarrass the family. At least be smart enough to remove the sticker after smashing a car.”
It certainly makes me wonder what kind of parent would buy that expensive an automobile for a mere child. Probably the same one that serves beer, and liquor at Jr.’s birthday party to insure his popular standing with his friends. This event prompted me to become more observant to bumper stickers and the people who are driving the cars.
A few days later, Better Half and I were driving toward our home on the lake when a Jeep with its doors off zipped past. The buxom blond bomber with dark roots and wide-tinted sunglasses that sat in the right seat looked down and waved as they roared by.
The sticker was partially obscured by the trailer that was hauling two bright red Jet Skis, but I caught enough to understand its meaning.
‘MY KID BEAT UP YOUR HONOR ROLL STUDENT!’
“Bet they’d be a fun couple to hang out with,” I remarked to Better Half.
“Don’t you dare strike up a conversation with them,” she warned because I’m known for inviting total strangers into our lake home. One would guess her reprimand had little to do with the bumper sticker and more about the curvy shape of the gal.
The overgrown truck with a jacked-up body and huge mud tires literally slid into the parking space next to me at Wal-Mart. After slamming the gear shift into park, the young woman adjusted her rearview mirror, smeared on an ample covering of red lipstick, brushed on a good amount of black mascara, and then finished with two minutes of fluffing her hair. She then opened the door, dropped to the asphalt, and commanded two little rug-rat boys who hadn’t seen soap in days, they’d better be on their best behavior, or she would literally kick their butts. And she added on good authority that Joe was in the sporting goods section looking for a new rod and reel.
Only after that did she sashay away in her white short shorts and lemon-yellow tank top. Who says you can’t look for husband number one, two, or three in all the wrong places? Only after my keen observation of human nature did I become aware of the bumper sticker that she’d placed in her rear window.
‘Silly boy’s trucks are for girls.’
I’m sure she learned all these trolling rituals at Mrs. Mellon’s Charm School for Redneck Women somewhere up in Virginia.
This Southern man greatly relishes the bumper stickers pertaining to our firearms and Second Amendment.
‘Protected by .44 mag’ was on the back of a well-used, covered with mud, four-wheel drive truck. The driver’s handlebar mustache rippled in the wind giving somber contrast to his shaved head. A muscular arm suntanned in the window, and he reminded me of someone who always parks in the darkest of areas hoping some fool will try to rob him.
I’ve recently read that you’re more likely to be car-jacked if you’re in a traditional vehicle than in a truck. One would have to guess that our thugs and thieves have enough intelligence to leave this gentleman alone and jack someone’s car with a sticker that reads, ‘Save the whales,’ or ‘I love my Yorkie.’
But my absolute favorite I didn’t find on the bumper of a car. There was a slight controversy that brewed in our state after our legislators decided that open carry of weapons should be available to the public. A few shop owners cried foul, thinking that someone with a gun on their hip would drive customers away. So, in all fairness, the Sheriff’s department supplied signs on request that read, ‘Open Carry Not Allowed on These Premises.’
One barbershop carried this a step further by putting up its own sign. ‘Open Carry Is Approved on This Property. Weapons Are to Be Holstered Unless A Need Arises. Then Good Marksmanship Will Be Greatly Appreciated.’
The next episode did a lot to convince me that even the best people can do things out of character when subjected to the stress of daily life. As one who has spent countless hours commuting to work, I’ve pretty much seen everything. And if raised Catholic, my purgatory would be sitting in traffic for all of eternity.
If adding the times I’ve been given the one-finger salute, bird, or however you wish to describe our custom of signaling displeasure, the number would boggle a mathematical genius’s mind. People just get irritated at those of us who drive at the speed limit.
Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to be the guy that truly says, “Bless her heart,” at the little old lady who’s muddling along in rush hour traffic. This day the flow resembled someone playing with a yo-yo. Every driver was either slamming on brakes or stomping on the gas, trying to get up to speed. For some reason, my wish not to accelerate as if I was a NASCAR driver at the drop of the green flag caused the person behind me great torment.
When a spot in the left lane opened, the little blue-haired lady whipped over, shot up beside me, and gave her best. It scared me for a moment that she was willing to let go of the steering wheel in order to do a double middle finger wave. Reading her lips caused me little distress, though. This son knows for a fact that his mother was not that type of person.
But the polish on the apple was the sight of her bumper sticker as she sped on content this man had been thoroughly flipped off. It would be unfair to use the denomination so you can fill in the blank.
‘Come worship with us at _________________ on Sunday.’
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