I Will Follow Your Bumper Sticker Anywhere

Call me shallow, but I have days when sighting a good bumper sticker will make me ridiculously happy or, at least, amused.

Last year, my favorite bumper sticker was God Bless the World — No Exceptions, which always made me smile, even if I’m not religious.  It seemed to call up what I consider to be the very best quality in any religion — the good will — while very stubbornly and subversively insisting that no one, however wretched or hopeless or politically liberal, would be rebuffed.  That kind of religion and openheartedness I could appreciate and will take it wherever I can find it, including the rear end of a car.

More recently, I’ve added a new favorite to my bumper-sticker wisdom hall of fame.  Follow Those Who Seek God.  Run From Those Who Find Him.  Yes, exactly!   Like my earlier favorite, it was perched on the back bumper of a rattle-trap car (they always have the best bumper stickers, for my money; Hummers and Tahoes never do, unless you get a particular thrill out of learning that little Ashley or Trevor play lacrosse or are honor students at a school you’ve never heard of or the driver loves one particular breed of dog.  And that dog, by the way, is smarter than little Ashley or Trevor and has the added bonus of not requiring orthodontia or piano lessons or a college diploma, so there).

But — follow the seekers, reject the certain, the smug, the self-righteously sneering.  As long as you’re at it, embrace uncertainty and doubt, because the world is a crazy, troubled and often merciless place and we’re all — no exceptions! — just trying to get by.

All of that was surging through my jumbled mind when I spotted yet another bumper sticker.  It was small and dark and discreet, with fine white print against a black background.  W: Thank you.

Now, I could have accidentally rammed the car, since it was sitting, innocently enough, in a shopping center parking lot.  But no, I took the high road, which I occasionally do, especially when I don’t want to mess up my own car or upset my insurance company.  Besides, I reminded myself, I’d been mentally blabbing about embracing doubt and openheartedness and maybe even tolerance.  And isn’t it great that we live in the kind of country that includes vicious windbags like Rush Limbaugh and people who believe the earth is a few thousand years old and drivers who are grateful to the 23rd letter in the alphabet?  No exceptions!

Call me shallow, call me inconsistent, call me soon, but I’m struggling with that one.

(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)

9 comments… add one
  • Paula Link

    You may or may not know that bumper stickers are #100 on stuff white people like: http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/05/21/100-bumper-stickers/

  • J Link

    W: Thank You… for Obama!

  • I love that bumper sticker – follow those who seek god, run from those who find him! I have a few born again holier than thous among my in-laws, and I would happily run a mile to get away from them – especially when it comes to grace before meals. I got so sick of having family celebrations in our home hijacked by longwinded sermons before dinner that, for the last one, The First Husband (at my urging, but they’re his relatives dammit!) decreed a moment of silence for each to use in his/her own way. It went down like a hot cup of sick with a hair in it, but there will be no more sermons on the mount round our table from here on in.

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    I don’t know why I even bothered to write 25 random things about myself when the Stuff White People Like already tells the story of my cliched life.

    Yes, thank you for Obama and for leaving the presidency, even if you did have to come back to Texas.

    A hot cup of sick with a hair in it?  That’s a new one on me, Tessa, but I like it.  Is it Irish?

  • My favourite bumper sticker seriously dates me: it’s “Impeach the Cox Sacker”

    In my dotage I have also enjoyed, Grow your own dope: plant a man.

  • Cindy A Link

    One of my favorite bumper stickers:
    A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

  • You always make me laugh and think at the same time.  I love that!  Two emotions for the price of one.  You rock, Ruth.

  • M A Link

    #2: J, ain’t that the truth?  W definitely helped to elect Obama with the way he proceeded to mess up the world…

  • Steve Link

    Even some of those of us who qualify as religious can add, “Amen,” to that bumper sticker.  Many of us who seek God–and find God in various ways–understand that it is the search that is important.  The problem with those who have all the answers is that they don’t let you ask any questions. 

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