Our bumper stickers show that we aren't kind or very gentle, either

THE WAY IT IS

September 06, 1992|By Jeff Griffith

To be honest, I didn't expect this columnist thing to last forever.

When I told my dear Mother I'd been fired, she, to be honest, was relieved. Her eldest would now be both an ex-politician and an ex-journalist. The tears in her eyes were mixed tears of joy, relief and humiliation.

The joy and relief stemmed from her son's being out of politics and journalism. The humiliation? He is not an ex-lawyer.

The New Editor said that the Big Editor downtown had decided to do a six-day zoned edition. The Editorial Writers from downtown will now do columns and commentary. So here is my next-to-last column.

This is probably the one that would've gotten me fired -- if I hadn't already been fired.

So, I've been collecting, as it were, bumper sticker slogans from Carroll County bumpers and graffiti from Carroll County washroom walls.

Both research projects continue, but the bumper sticker prong of the study has matured to the point that a preliminary report is possible.

Graffiti will just have to wait.

And the bumper report will necessarily have a narrow focus, since all of the data are not in.

Carroll bumpers suggest a violent, anti-female mentality.

Seen on an amazingly high 4x4 pickup in South Carroll, the kind of vehicle that has tires so big that only an athlete with a strong ladder and no fear of heights can ascend into:

MY WIFE -- YES

MY DOG -- MAYBE

MY GUN -- NEVER

This is not the bumper sticker of a sensitive guy.

Let's think about this one. Wife control? No problem. Dog control? Well, perhaps, but without enthusiasm. Gun control? Like hell.

The owner of this bumper should add the companion sticker, the one that goes something like this: THEY CAN TAKE MY GUN -- OUT OF MY COLD DEAD HAND.

Both the wife and the dog are no doubt familiar with the cold, dead hand.

Seen on a BMW in a Finksburg shopping center: MY WIFE RAN AWAY WITH MY BEST FRIEND -- I SURE DO MISS HIM.

The yuppie in the Beemer is brother under the skin to the athlete in the pick-em-up. They both fear and despise women.

Seen on a compact station wagon in a residential neighborhood in Westminster: I'M GLAD MARY AND JOSEPH WEREN'T PRO-CHOICE.

This gem is rather more subtle in its implicit woman bashing. For one thing, the message is that mothers who are pro-choice would under all circumstances choose to abort their own fetuses, a notion that is rubbish on its face.

My mother is pro-choice.

For another, the message raises the issue of whether Mary had any choices at all. In the accounts I've read, Mary got her marching orders from an angel. Joseph, on the other hand, was entirely out of the loop.

One can envision a series of these sticker shockers:

I WISH MR. AND MRS. HITLER HAD BEEN PRO-CHOICE.

Or: I WISH MR. AND MRS. MANSON HAD BEEN PRO-CHOICE.

I wish I had an opportunity to report on my graffiti study.

I wish we were kinder and gentler on our bumpers.

Relax, Mom, only one more column and I'll be an ex-journalist.

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