I can hear my father's voice telling me not to put stickers on any painted surfaces. He was talking specifically about bumper stickers landing anywhere but the chrome bumper of our car. That was further limited by the fact that my father's car was "a company car" and we weren't allowed to put anything on that. That meant that any stickers we had to stick had to go on a pretty finite chunk of real estate on my mother's bumper, and she wasn't too thrilled about BudMan or STP as a sponsor of her station wagon. All of those stickers found their way to my bedroom door, much to my parents' chagrin.
I heard my father's admonition as I looked at the back end of my own station wagon. It was sitting in the parking lot of the Mystery Spot, near Santa Cruz. The friendly folks there are happy to give away bumper stickers to their "gravitational anomaly" to continue to spread the word about how physics had gone awry in this corner of the redwood forest. Free sticker? How could I keep myself from slapping that bad boy directly on my bumper? The painted, plastic bumper of our Saturn hatchback? I would like to tell you that there was a lengthy internal struggle, but that was limited to the time it took me to peel the paper backing off and smooth the yellow and black beauty on the lower left quadrant. Suddenly, we became "one of them."
I have seen other cars that seem to be held together by the paper and vinyl strips and adhesive that cover the back end of their motor vehicles. They make for good reading as we travel the highways and byways. It's always nice to see the occasional clever sentiment or Dukakis for President. Then there's the back of our car: "Warning: This Car Transforms Into Robot," and "Parent of a Brett Harte Middle School Honor Roll Student," and the "Mystery Spot." Plus a number of others that escape my memory. Layers have begun to accumulate, and while I am relieved that I haven't had to scrape a "Kerry/Edwards" decal off in a fit of pique, I wonder how much longer we can continue to lacquer the hindquarters of our Wagon Queen Family Truckster. Or perhaps we should blame the Mystery Spot for sending us down this road in the first place. Aside from having gravity that's all askew, it is apparently a vortex for the wisdom of my father.