The Following is a Guest Post by the id-minded Robin Raskin.
There once was a time when a car was a status symbol. BMW? You’re doing well and you’d like people to know it (although you’ll say its safety features are unmatched and something about horse power that I won’t hear because I stopped listening the minute you opened your mouth). VW? You’re quirky. You’re fun. You’re over the whole Hitler thing. Honda? You’re suburban. You have a mortgage, 2.5 kids, a dog, and you heart your grill. Pontiac? Do they still manufacture Pontiacs? It’s time to get a new car.
Along came the “My Child is an Honor Student at ___________ Middle School” bumper sticker. A little bit obnoxious, yes, but easy to ignore while you are passing that person’s slow-ass car on the road. The retaliation bumper sticker – “My kid can kick your honor student’s ass” – was enjoyable but, soon, played-out.
Then came the advent of the car magnet. They started off innocently enough…. You support Breast Cancer. You like the Phillies. You want people to “Coexist.” But those seemingly innocuous magnets soon morphed into the status symbol of today. A roving Facebook page, if you will. They use soccer balls, pom-poms, and weird swimming stick figures to shout “check out how many activities my honor student is involved in!” They let you know that these people frequent the OBX. That they’ve run 13.1 or 26.2 miles. The one that really blows my mind is the customizable stick figure family that shows daddy in his suit and tie, mommy on her cell phone with her shopping bags, the kids holding or kicking the ball corresponding to their sport of choice, and even the family pets. I’ve seen one of these things stretch the entire length of the rear windshield of a huge SUV. They wasted so much prime real estate that they had to relegate their poor “This Car Climbed Mt. Washington” magnet to the gas tank cap. The shame.
I’m trying to decide what feelings all of these magnets are supposed to elicit from me, the driver behind you. Am I supposed to be impressed that you can do all of these fabulous things AND drive your car at the same time? Am I supposed to be happy that you and your 15 dogs, 2 cats, and 3 birds are obviously living the American dream? Maybe I’m supposed to pull up next to you, have you roll down your window and tell you how inspired I am to achieve more and that it’s all thanks to the back of your car.
Instead, I think I’ll just mock you from behind. Then maneuver in front of you and show you the pristine, unadorned back door of my car while silently thinking…. my car can kick your car’s ass!