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Bumper Stickers © R. Craig Collins, 1995, 2005/6

During the last century, in the eccentric town of San Francisco, lived an especially off-center soul by the name of Emperor Norton. Norton crowned himself ruler of North America, and went about making proclamations that were wildly popular, but hardly enforceable. Well, he, Elvis and I were eating at Pier 39 awhile back and the subject turned to bumper stickers. Norton decreed them illegal after our discussion, and we felt we owed the public an explanation... so you would understand the need to drag out your razors and mar your chrome; and do it with near religious zest.

The primary reason for the ban is the lack of choice. You don't have to buy a Penthouse letters book, you don't have to listen to Slim Whitman songs, and you aren't forced to hear Hari Krishna's spiel in airports: but when you are bumper to bumper at the Downtown exit, you are required by law to stare at little red lights on the backside of two tons of steel. This is to, of course, provide you with knowledge of the car's next move, and allow you time to jump on the horn the split second after the traffic light has turned.

The problem is, people feel they have the right to put their idiotic opinions right next to the little red lights, which again, you are legally required to state at. And not just any, unassuming, little stickers... but stickers that ergonomically draw your eyes away from that glow just inches away.

You are forced, by your very genetic make-up, to look at the sticker. Gradually you loose all power to look elsewhere. Then the light changes; you are unable, due to your stupor, to jump on the horn.

Now, if people had limited their stickers to where their children successfully duped the teachers into good grades, or the stupid places the car has been (not necessarily it's owner, just the car), or what the name of the radio station is that is polluting the airwaves adjacent to the vehicle, less drastic action would have been needed. But no, due to the abuses by some, we all must uncover those nasty dings on our trunks.

The worst offenders, those which drove the decision to the extreme, are all familiar to you. Here are a few of the worst.

Now don't think that I'm against the follicle impaired; as a matter of fact, I'm in that group. But there are a bunch of ugly bald heads. This sticker campaign is not shifting public sentiment (read: convincing women that bald is beautiful...). Actually, this campaign has subjected balding men to as much criticism as those ugly headed bald guys in Hair Club for men. Even the notion expressed by radio talk show hosts (who are probably bald) that bald men are perceived as more intelligent has not helped skin heads get more dates.

What the sticker should have said is this: "There is no such thing as a bald eunuch", or "Bald men use their hormones for more important things than hair". But the telling an outright lie by a few has cost us all.

This sticker is dumb for two reasons.
One, it dates your car. Some models remain current, even stylish, for years; but that "I like Ike" lets folks know that your not driving a brand new VW bug.
Two, it shows how many losers you have supported over the years. And in the case of El Paso county elections, it is downright dangerous to publicly display the fact that you supported any recent County Judge. It's like putting a bulls-eye on the back of your car; you become a rolling target crying out for a thumping. It's almost as if there is a pitcher in the County Judge's office with some unglazed lead paint on it, the way that rational people change when they get into office.

There was one county judge who was transporting a powdery white substance in a prophylactic. He said it was powdered sugar", or some other such condom-ent, but it wound up down the drain right before his career. Or the judge who decided the drought wasn't so bad that we couldn't stand to build a great big swimming pool with money we didn't have. He also had a new court house built, but the closest he ever got to that was when he had to answer criminal counts in the real courts, not the Commissioners version. Another judge decided to try a move a jail site away from a Military installation to put it closer to a residential area. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure that any escaped inmates wouldn't like to be close to guys with guns, and would enjoy visiting nice houses... since that's where most of them were arrested.

People who brake for hallucinations should be automatically arrested for driving under the influence. Those who brake for unicorns or butterflies need to be dragged from their vehicles and slapped until the light of reason returns. People who brag about braking for children, animals, railroad crossings, and other things that normal people brake for anyway should be tested to make sure they would brake for other things that occasionally block a road, but have not been put on a sticker yet. Tree trunks and stalled semi tractors come to mind. The only acceptable version is the "I brake for no apparent reason" edition, which applies to us all at one point or another.

It seems that one faction of my former home town's population passed a law against planting new Mulberry trees, due to the pollen. Then the vocal minority came up with "Save the Mulberry trees." Vocal, and ignorant.

These people obviously don't have allergies. Perhaps they should have a mulberry branch rammed up their noses so they too can enjoy what others feel.

There are other beautiful trees to be planted, ones that do not offend anyone. Plant them! What's that you say, that ban is ineffective because existing mulberries will live up to 50 more years? We'll, at least my daughters kids may avoid the seasonal agony. It gives me something to live for, too. My most fervent hope is to be buried in a casket made from the rotting limbs of the last Mulberry in west Texas. That, and to have died from exhaustion, due to...
hair loss.