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Philosophers on Wheels

New Page 1 May 2006

One of the joys of driving is the opportunity to read bumper stickers on all the cars you’re having to dodge and with which you’re competing for that last remaining parking place. All too often, it’s clear that the words so enthusiastically plastered on the vehicle’s rear surfaces, represent the driver’s or owner’s very own philosophy and what matters in life to them.

Classics such as “Metaphors be with you” or “Beam me up, Scotty; There’s no intelligent life down here” alert us quickly to that driver or owner’s most cherished philosophical view. In the first case it’s clear that we have a true believer in the Faith that Language Will Save Us All. [Of course, it could be a shameless punster who believes that Star Wars was a documentary.] Meanwhile, the “Beam me up...” sticker might also suggest a believer in interstellar travel or else represent simply a comment on the quality of the other drivers on the road to effectively maneuver their ungainly vehicles in such a manner as to get out of that particular philosopher’s way.

There is also social comment, such as “My ex-husband is in the trunk.” This little gem is sometimes given even more credibility by the simple expedient of a man’s necktie partially sticking out of the trunk. The latter case clearly shows us a previously married woman who is particularly creative (and/or still mad as hell). It also provides us with some wonderfully creative ideas on handling toxic waste.

Strangely enough, the police never stop the cars which show the necktie sticking out. Apparently, if one is advertising what could often be construed as a crime (some women might think that stuffing your ex-husband in the trunk is NOT a crime), then the police tend to write if off as just a bit of humor.

Perhaps one could take this a step further, go down to the nearest bank with signs informing bystanders and bank employees that the perpetrators are doing a special for Geraldo Rivera and are robbing the bank, and then expect everyone, including the local police, to cooperate. Perhaps the police could help keep traffic clear for the getaway car. It would certainly reduce the possibility of someone getting hurt, and considering the current status of banks, the entire amount taken at gunpoint could be written off as another real estate loan gone bad (and a rather small loan at that).

For the peacemakers earnestly seeking peace, there is the clever: “Arms are for Hugging”. Besides being anti-war, this bit of philosophy might also be used in picking up members of the opposite sex. Or just in hinting of the possibilities once that member is actually picked up.

Environmental political philosophy is often nicely phrased by “Frankly my dear, I don’t want a dam!” Interestingly, there appear to be no contrary views, such as: “Aw come on: Let’s flood that wild and scenic river!”

One very useful sticker, particularly in dealing with competing drivers, is: “Back off, Dogbreath; I’ve having a bad day!” Inasmuch as this sticker is rather permanently plastered on the motor vehicle, it might be safe to say that the vehicle’s owner is prone to having bad days, surely a succinct description of their own personal philosophy.

Then there’s the bumper sticker, which pretty much says it all: “We’ll get along fine, just as soon as you realize I’m God.” Obviously, we are either dealing with someone seriously lacking in humility, someone following Shirley McLaine’s “I’m God” philosophy, or perhaps... just perhaps... the real thing. Consequently, we might want to give that car a wide birth... just in case the driver happens to turn out to be Thor, the Nordic God of Thunder, or some other similarly ill-tempered deity. This is not of those cars from which you want to steal a parking space!




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