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Column: From rear bumper to social media

Posted: March 5, 2018 3:09 p.m.
Updated: March 6, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Some folks collect stamps and coins. Others collect rare works of art.

I really enjoy collecting bumper stickers. Or, more accurately, I enjoy collecting the mindless tropes we used to read and at which we used to chuckle during traffic jams.

Call it the philosophy of the great unwashed. Call it lightweight aphorism. In fact, much of it may very well be internet meme-speak these days.

The fact is, as long as one does not take these things too seriously, they can be a lot of fun.

Of course, the biggest problem we have today as that it feels like the vast majority fall into one of two groups:    those who apparently think these things are some sort of religious philosophy/sacred writ of mandemus; and those who think those who think  that way are dangerous, paramecium-like scum who need to be exterminated.

Both sides miss the obvious point, which is that these things are nothing more than simple one-liners designed to amuse rather than inform.

Once upon a time, when I drove truly crummy vehicles, I often had a dozen of these all over the rear bumper.

For the tailgaters:

• Horn broken; watch for finger.

• Are you having phone sex or do you just drive that way?

• Visualize using your turn signal.

For the self-righteous, self-actualized whiners of the world:

• Jesus is coming. Look busy.

• Drugs lead nowhere. But it’s the scenic route.

• Earth first. We’ll log the other planets later.

Then there’s the cynically bemused take on the rest of the world:

• I child-proofed my house, but somehow, they still get in.

• Driver carries no cash. He’s married.

• The shortest sentence is “I am.” The longest sentence is “I do.”

Of course, one of my all-time favorites, geared for the “hey y’all, wartch this” crowd”: 

• I brake for ... AAAIIIEEEE!!! NO BRAKES!!!!!

The point I’m trying to make, and it surely exists in here, somewhere, is that I, and many like me, have a somewhat twisted sense of humor. That’s because we realize a very important fact that seems to have become lost in the cacophony of being “right,” and that is everything, but everything on this planet -- every idea, every creature, every king and pauper, every sacrament and every vice -- everything is funny. It has to be. It’s just absurd for any of us to take ourselves too seriously. After all, no one will ever see a hearse dragging a U-Haul.

Except for mine, of course...

The point is, humor is salve and scalpel. It lampoons but it teaches. And this is because, as Heinlein one said, this universe consists of converse dualities. Yin and  Yang. Light and darkness. wisdom and politics. Sanity and religion.

You get the idea.

Humor, and the feel goof, tension releasing belly laughs it gives us, is actually derived from a wellspring of anger, frustration and pain.

And how do we get rid of said negative elements?

Well, near as I can tell, you can either laugh or kill yourself. At the moment, I prefer the latter -- no need to be in a hurry to go forth into the void and dump that karmic burden when I already have a ticket bought and paid for, sometime, somewhere, for when I least expect to make the trip.

We need to spend less time allowing ourselves to be whacked out with the rage du jour, twisted with all manner of absurd dogmas, wound tight with the daily aggravations of trying to pass the next guy on this, the great hamster wheel of life.

Here’s some friendly advice: you better learn to laugh at yourself, if for no other reason than because there are plenty of folks out there who will do it for you -- starting with yours truly. Rest assured, no matter what you are doing, at some point or another, whatever it is will somehow crack me up. That pretty much goes for everyone and everything.

Or to put it another way, when the rapture comes, can I have your car?


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