Bumper Stickers: Funny, Controversial, and Just Plain Stupid

Do you love or hate bumper stickers (and magnets/decals)? Some people see them as obnoxious because the person using them had the arrogance to state his opinions on his vehicle. Car enthusiasts hate them because they ruin the car. And some lame people, like me, love them because they give me something to look at while commuting.

There were a ton of stickers on my old car, and it was fun to gauge people’s reactions. I got a lot of “thumbs up,” but I also got some rude people, and I don’t think it was my imagination, but tailgaters seemed more vicious when I had my old car. I don’t think I’ll put any stickers on my new car until it’s at least 10 years old… or maybe I won’t put any on at all.

On the other hand, my husband’s car (same age as mine) is absolutely plastered with stickers, and they are all related to Catholicism. One time, someone passed us and held up his rosary in solidarity. Another time, someone waited for my husband outside a store and cursed him out. (Something to the tune of “How dare you support those pedophile priests?!?” but much more rude.)

Are bumper stickers foolish? Probably just as foolish as vanity plates, because they are attention getting, but in the best case, they could lead to interesting conversations or even friendships. In the days before social media, bumper stickers were a good way to share your opinions and beliefs with the world, but now, most people probably just consider them tacky.

My favorite sticker? A hard choice, but I pick this one. There’s another I like with “0.0” and below that, in smaller letters, it says, “I don’t run.” I guess it’s making fun of people who have those 26.2 and 13.1 stickers bragging to the world that they can run insanely long distances and are much healthier than the rest of us.

My least favorite sticker? This one, followed by the one that shows a curvy girl’s silhouette. They’re like those metal bull balls that some people put on their truck’s hitch: just plain stupid.

Joyful, Odd Course of Events

The reason I’ve been MIA lately is because my son was born on January 5, which was two weeks before his due date. I’m actually glad he arrived early because he weighed 7 pounds and 14 ounces at birth and was 21.5 inches long. Had he waited till his due date, he most likely would have been 9 pounds or more… and I don’t think my body could’ve handled it. I’m not sharing his name here for privacy reasons, but everyone says it’s a nice manly name. 🙂

They say labor pain is the worst pain ever. Now that I have actually given birth, I am allowed to have an opinion on that, but I don’t know if I agree. It was a pretty awful pain, but it is an “organized” pain, if that makes sense. The simple fact that the pain had a purpose made it easier to get through. The weirdest part about it was sleeping between contractions and actually having dreams.

They also say that a child is a source of joy. My child was born with a disease of the intestine that was not foreseen before birth, so we were in and out of the hospital for all of January until today. To make a very long story short, the baby needs to have a colostomy bag until he is 6 months old, at which point he’ll have surgery to fix his large intestine. After that, he will be like any other kid. All of this did not diminish my joy in the knowledge that my son is actually here, that he exists, and that he is a charming little soul. But hospital stays are depressing even without the postpartum hormones, so I can’t say that the entire experience was joyful.

So that was the past month in a nutshell. What an odd course of events. If I were to imagine in 2009 what my life would look like in 2019, I certainly wouldn’t have imagined it like this (in a good way).

Too Much Stuff

The area where I live is constantly under construction because it’s highly sought after. We still have relatively low taxes and house prices compared to a lot of other up-and-coming American cities.

Most of the time, construction is annoying, ugly, and loud. Sometimes it’s exciting, like when a store comes in that I will actually go to. But lately, it seems like giant storage units keep getting built. The nice ones where you can keep your stuff in a climate-controlled environment, like Ample Storage or CubeSmart.

I understand the point of storage units as a temporary solution when you are moving or dealing with the possessions of a relative who passed away. However, on the whole, I have always hated storage units because to me, they mean that you have too much stuff and instead of paying to store it when you most likely won’t look at it again, you really should sell it or donate it or throw it away.

One of the few TV shows I like is Storage Wars, in which a group of crazy people bid on abandoned storage units in the hopes that they will find treasure that they can sell and make a higher profit than the other crazy people who also bid on storage units.

Although it is a lot of fun to watch these crazy people find cool and rare stuff in the storage units, the show also makes me depressed because the original owners of the storage units had so much stuff that they actually had to pay to keep it somewhere. Much of it is mundane, like clothes and sports equipment and children’s toys—stuff that probably could have been gotten rid of rather than confined to a storage unit.

Storage units also remind me of my grandma, who put a lot of her stuff in storage because the places she lived didn’t have space for it. I remember the depressing times that were spent going to the storage unit (not one of the high-end ones) and sorting through all of her things, which were mostly costume jewelry and clothes that had gone out of fashion a long time ago.

My grandma was born before the Great Depression hit, and because she was a child of that era, she probably wanted to keep everything in case something happened to the stock market again. But as she got older, the stuff presented a burden. It exhausted her (and probably made her feel sad) to go through it and relive the memories attached to it.

Being there as my grandma went through her things made me resolve to never acquire so many items that I would have to store them outside of my house. I don’t often buy “things” for me or “decorations” for my home because when I walk into a retail store, I imagine most of the stuff in there 10 or 20 years from now, sitting in someone’s garage or storage unit, abandoned and forgotten.

Also, I don’t see the point of buying new household items and decorations when I am set to inherit much of my mother’s (and probably mother-in-law’s) things when they eventually downsize. My mother always reminds me, “You’ll have all this stuff when I’m dead.” I keep remembering my grandma sitting amid her pile of stuff at the storage unit, exhausted and depressed, and honestly, I just feel bad.

As the old saying goes, “The more you own, the more it owns you.” “Stuff” can enhance your life, but I feel like most of the time, we would do well to think twice about what we buy and whether we really need it, or if it will just end up sitting abandoned in a storage unit or garage for many years.