The bumper sticker is mightier than the sword

Lately these posts have just been writing themselves. 

For the record, this post is going to be 1% running. 0% veganism. and 99% are you kidding me?!

Also, if you have a certain relatively untainted perception of me as a person and don’t want that ruined (read: my parents), don’t read this post. For the rest of you that see my shortcomings and annoyances somewhat charming, do read on.

SO! Last year I made a bumper sticker. In a moment of perhaps divine inspiration a thought came to me. It said, “Fuck this. I’m going running.” and I thought, “What a great idea for a bumper sticker! Man! I want a bumper sticker that says that!” Of course, I know no one else has actually made, or would make, that bumper sticker, so what else was I to do but put my Do It Yourself punk ethics to practice and make it myself! So that’s what I did. And since the shortest print run for bumper stickers was 250, I had to go ahead and make 250 bumper stickers, which with the most meager of marketing promotions has sent them overseas and across the nation. Still, I have a lot left, which is a good thing because these suckers get people really riled up and I’ve actually had it ripped off my car twice. I’m assuming this was done because of the word “FUCK” and not because someone was infuriated that I wanted to go running, but hey, people are weird, ya never know.

Anyways, this morning I did my 20 miles out at Eagle Creek, picked up a couple soy iced lattes for myself and Michelle for her birthday and was quite satisfied with how my morning was starting out. Continuing my drive home I stop behind some cars at a stop light and a large truck pulls up along side of me. Just then my spidey senses started tingling and I got the feeling someone was trying to get my attention. I look over to my left to see a middle aged man mouthing something towards me. I turned down my radio, turned his way, and the conversation went like this.

“What’s that?”
– “I can’t believe you have profanity on your car.” said in a tone of voice that conveyed that he actually COULD believe that I had profanity on my car and saw a prime opportunity to let me know how righteous he is about his place in the world. He then followed that up with…
– “I have children.”
Without but a few moments to come up with a witty comeback, I turned to him and said, with a tone of defensive arrogance,
“Well…believe it!”
The light turns green and just as he starts to pull away, he very matter of factly replies,
– “You should be arrested.”

I laughed, but unfortunately I don’t think he saw me.

See, I’ve gotten a lot of unexpected responses to this bumper sticker, most quite surprising, and the experiences have actually afforded me the fortune of giving this dynamic a lot of thinking, but this one really takes the cake. 

This is what I don’t get. So many people have bumper stickers and although most are humorous (I’d like to believe mine falls into that category), many are legitimately offensive in that their message calls for a direct intrusion into other’s lives. Most of those are political stickers that lean towards homophobia, racism or something of the like. Granted, the owners of those stickers probably get a lot of verbal flack, but again, those stickers are about actual ISSUES. Mine is about running. Now, I know people aren’t responding to the act of running, but that’s the point. If they are simply responding to the word “Fuck”, then surely they must live extremely sheltered lives in that a simple word solicits such anger and verbal response. 

And geez…it’s just a word. Now, I’m not in the school of thought that seeks to devalue profanities of their power. The word “Fuck” is a very powerful word. Then again, so is Cunt, Fag, Bitch, Retarded, etc., but most people use those with the same carelessness they utilize for culturally normative language. So yes, “Fuck” is a powerful word….which is why it works so great! It’s strong, it’s powerful, and it’s EXPRESSIVE. The power of the word gives the user the ability to really convey the strength of their emotions. For example, imagine I called you a jerk. Big deal right? But what if I said, “You’re a fuckin jerk”. Or even, “Fuck you, you motherfucking jerk.” Little different yeah? 

But it goes deeper than that. A lot of people get offended by the word “Fuck” because they accept that it holds an inherently NEGATIVE association, but how many times have you said, “Fuck yeah!” or “That was fuckin awesome!” So, not only does the term embody a deeply negative association, but it can also hold a deeply positive association….which SHOULD be apparent in my bumper sticker. Wait, that’s not true actually. The sticker doesn’t say “I’m going FUCKING running.” It’s says “Fuck this.” What “this” actually is, is up for the reader to decide. So actually, it does hold a negative association in this specific usage, though I would argue it is part of a more positive whole in that I’ve taken a negative scenario and changed it to something positive….running! I mean, it could be worse. It could say, “Fuck this. Let’s get high!” I wonder what part of that sticker would make people more angry. Maybe the reference to drugs would even make the profanity pale in comparison. 

When I really think about it, I actually don’t think the negative reactions have anything to do with the word at all..or at least fundamentally. I think people’s reactions more has to do with the perceived arrogance of using the term publicly and casually. I think people see the sticker as an affront to our dominant culture’s “moral foundation”, where everyone loves jesus, loves america, supports the troops, goes to church, doesn’t cheat on their wives, and most certainly under no circumstance whatsoever…EVER uses profanity (But guess what….i never signed your dominant culture’s social contract). I think that because I’ve used profanity publicly is one thing, but because I’ve used it CASUALLY is what really freaks people out. I mean, PEOPLE HAVE CHILDREN! (like me). What will these wholesome parents ever do if *gasp* a child asks them about the world!!! I mean, they might have to EXPLAIN it and exert INFLUENCE on them! The horror! I mean, Kids are to be put in a bubble and shown videos of veggie tales until they are old enough to have intercourse only for the sake of procreation….duh.

Since I brought up “moral foundation”, let’s make a point about that as well. Obviously my sticker about running offended this man’s moral foundation, which by his need to point out the “wrongness” of the sticker to me, implies that his moral foundation is the CORRECT moral foundation and I’m simply misguided. I mean, if he wasn’t so confident that he was undeniably right, he wouldn’t have said anything right? I had committed such a serious offense to his moral foundation that he went as far as saying I should be “arrested” and presumably thrown in jail, my freedom revoked. Now, I really think that saying I should be arrested was just a desperate attempt to express his frustration that he disapproved of my bumper sticker but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) actually do anything to stop it from existing, but I also find it amusing that the very concept that I should be arrested runs deeply opposed to MY “moral” foundation (if I believed in the concept) in that I am an anarchist and reject the use of law (read: moral force), but of course, that’s just absurd right?  I mean, it’s one thing to have an offensive bumper sticker, but is the proper response to being offended by a mere expression, no matter how uncomfortable it makes one feel, be to take away someones freedom and physically restrain them? “Freedom of speech” what? 

Ultimately, this stuff cracks me up. I know the people that are so incredibly offended by a sticker about running, a sticker that merely expresses my frustration towards the mundane and turns it into the positive act of RUNNING, are simply scared, insecure individuals who don’t know how to separate themselves from the parts of the world they don’t agree with. That’s cool…cause while they are losing sleep over their inability to actually do anything about the world, probably driving themselves straight into a heart attack,  I’m out there confidently enjoying myself and FUCKING RUNNING! Sorry ’bout cha.

By the way….anyone want a bumper sticker?

———————-

Log

2:17 of running. Easy pace, probably over 20 miles actually. Felt stupidly good. No late day fatigue. I don’t get it. I debated doing a second run today, but decided to play it safe.

Diet

Breakfast – 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter, coffee
Lunch – peanut butter and jelly, water
Dinner – Tacos (beans, rice, veggie crumbles, avocado, tomatoes, vegan sour cream)
Dessert – Vegan mocha strawberry cake with coffee icing (feeling the buzz! – happy bday michelle!)
Snacks – Iced soy latte, water, chips and salsa

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8 responses to “The bumper sticker is mightier than the sword

  1. Dude, save one of those babies for me! Bring to next DINO man, let me know how much OK! I can’t wait to display it with my thousands (LOL) of back window awards in my car………..

  2. I want one!

  3. Do you still have bumper stickers left? 🙂

    • I wish I did Alain. I’ve been meaning to redesign and reprint these, so this is probably a good impetus to do so. Thanks! I’ll put up a post when I finish them.

  4. Dude!!! I want this bumper sticker! My Suby will proudly wear it!

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