We’re clearly in a time when publicly sharing our personal lives is the norm.
Still I think it’s kind of weird when people I’ve never met reveal their private thoughts, political positions, family deaths and religious beliefs on the back of a car.
But I have to admit I’m hooked. It’s always “pedal to the metal” to catch-up with a car that’s plastered with enough window decals and bumper stickers to create a soap opera on wheels. It’s like I’ve found a really good book and can’t put it down.
I have to confess that of all the bumper stickers out there, the ones that mystify me most are the ones that read something like this: “Proud Parent of …”
The other day I got close enough to the car in front of me to cause my wife to press her imaginary passenger-side brake before I read: “Proud Parent of a Kiwanis Terrific Kid.”
That one threw me.
We’ve all seen “Student of the Month” bumper stickers. But I hadn’t seen a bumper sticker this generic, this amorphous. I immediately wondered, “What the hell is a Kiwanis Terrific Kid?”
All manner of possibilities crossed my mind.
At least with “Student of the Month,” one presumes there is some sort of grading system involved. But what specifically constitutes a “Kiwanis Terrific Kid?” Grades? Helping little old ladies (and men) cross the street? Walking dogs?
I don’t want to be the one throwing the wet blanket on Kiwanians or terrific kids, but it seems that we’ve lost all sense of what it takes to earn recognition. Maybe they should’ve placed an asterisk on the bumper sticker with a website address so we could determine just why this kid is terrific.
Taking this a step further, which I always like to do, I decided that if a Kiwanis Kid could be labeled as terrific and a parent could therefore feel proud, I could create bumper stickers for parents of other “lesser terrific” kids but who’s parents still felt proud.
Maybe we could have a “Proud Parents of Tanya Harding,” or Proud Parents of Charles Manson, or even Proud Parent of Cheezwhiz (aren’t our inventions, even those leaving oil slicks, our children?). Or maybe I’m just pissed that we didn’t have bumper stickers when I was a kid so my parents could celebrate being proud of me.
Hmm … As I think about it, it might have been a bit humiliating to read my parent’s view of me on the rear bumper of their car, “Proud Parents of a Recalcitrant, Oppositional Brat Who Never got Past the Terrible Twos.”