Forest Gill, a silkscreen printer from Kansas City, gets credit for the first bumper sticker when he pioneered the use of adhesive to stick them to vehicles. I’m not sure what the first bumper sticker said but it was probably something like: IF THE WORDS ON THIS STICKER ARE GETTING BIGGER, YOU ARE PROBABLY GETTING TOO CLOSE.
Whenever we see a bumper sticker, it’s a teachable moment.
I USED TO BE COOL: This sticker was on a mini-van. It could very well have been mine. I have owned mini-vans for the last 30 years. Before that I owned a cool conversion van and a Fiat. I used to have flame decals on my mini-van but I don’t even do that any more. I no longer feel a need to be cool, just comfortable. Is that wrong?
DYSLEXICS ARE TEOPLE POO: This bumper sticker is cool because it shows that there is no need to try to be someone else. We are who we are. We can’t really change that nor should we want to. Each of us is unique in our own way and that’s what makes each of us PSECLIAl.
WHAT IF THE WHOLE WORLD FARTED AT ONCE? Perhaps, just maybe, this bumper sticker has found a solution to the meaning of life. Maybe the world’s population just needs to let it go (no pun intended) and if we did we would realize we are all human beings with the same desires and feelings. We are all in this together. We all smell alike.
I MAKE MY OWN BEER (SO I GOT THAT GOING FOR ME): There are some people who have a lot going for themselves and there are some who feel they have nothing going for themselves. I like this sticker because the person who created it looked at himself or herself and found something positive even though it was just to make beer, which, by the way, is pretty darn good if you like beer.
NOTHING IS REALLY LOST UNTIL YOUR WIFE CAN’T FIND IT: “Kathy, have you seen my wallet?” Guys, have you ever said anything like this to your wife? Kathy will answer, “Have you looked on the table under the magazines?” Behold, there it is. Women come with an extra sense that men don’t possess. Maybe this is why we marry them. No guy would ever be able to find his wallet.
WHAT IF THE HOKEY POKEY IS REALLY WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT: There is more truth to this bumper sticker that what we dare realize. We have a tendency to make things overly serious or overly troublesome or overly complex when in reality the solution may be just doing the hokey pokey. A prerequisite for being a world leader should be the ability to do the hokey pokey.
MY KID CAN SKATEBOARD BETTER THAN YOUR HONOR STUDENT: This is one of my favorites. I can imagine the feeling parents have when their child never makes the honor roll in 12 years of school. Some kids are just not academically inclined but there are things they do very well like skateboarding and snowboarding. Maybe they will invent the next best selling bumper sticker. It could happen.
I BET JESUS WOULD HAVE USED HIS TURN SIGNALS: This is a very positive way of telling someone that our turn signals are on our cars for a reason. The message is not one of anger but it gives us a hint as to what Jesus would do who would, I’m sure, approve of bumper stickers.
NO NEED TO HONK AGAIN. I IGNORED YOU FINE THE FIRST TIME: We all have received a honk or two from some impatient driver. Although it is hard to ignore these honks, that is the best strategy. However, if you have been waiting for a green light and it has come on and you still don’t move, I just may be the one behind you that gives a gentle, soft honk.
VERY FUNNY! NOW BRING OUT THE REAL PRESIDENT: This sticker has been used both for democrats and republican presidents. You have to admit that it is kind of cute. It could have been created by a writer on Saturday Night Live. I hope presidents find it amusing. If they don’t they probably need to bring out the real president.
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE PROBABLY PULLING ME OVER: This sticker was placed in such a way on a car that it could only be read if you were looking down. It really is a good strategy. State patrol officials might get a little chuckle out of it and he or she might just let you off with a warning.
I’M GOING TO SURVIVE EVEN THOUGH IT MAY KILL ME: People who read bumper stickers are looking for something. It may be a salient message, it may be for some humor, and it may be a quest for the meaning of life. Regardless of what is on the bumper sticker, we all will make it; we all will survive, which could be a slogan for another bumper sticker.
Riddle: What did the square say to the old circle? (Been around long?) Bumper stickers have been around a long time. Why? Because we are just all a bunch of squares.
John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.