I’ve successfully completed 10 assaults on the summit of New Hampshire’s rugged Mt. Washington (all thanks to the superb guiding of Art Mooney www.mooneymouintainguides.com).
On more than occasion, however, I’ve been taken aback to see various cars, station wagons, mini-vans and SUV’s parked at the summit lot, and sporting a real bumper sticker that read, ‘This car climbed Mt. Washington.’ Such tattoos on wheels simultaneously bemused and offended me.
I chuckled at the thought of some latter-day Clark Griswold claiming credit for an accomplishment his four, six or eight cylinder machine had made possible. I was offended by the sheer audacity of some couch potato suggesting to the world that he had conquered the same unforgiving, oft-times perilous, peak as me.
It got me thinking about bumper stickers in general, and their more insidious, latter-day offspring, the: ‘Hey world. Look-at-me’ tattoo on wheels.
I first recall bumper stickers relocating from the bumper, and becoming some sort of plaintiff cry when those ugly ‘Baby on board’ yield signs began being plastered on the read windows of every car in suburbia. Those were followed by the American flag as antenna adornment in the days and weeks following 9/11. One could not drive on any greater New York metropolitan area highway without seeing convoys of such flag-sporting cars, vans and trucks (99 percent of which went the way of all flesh within 90 days of the disaster).
Now, though, we’re witnessing the rise of a whole new, and disturbing, class of tats on wheels.
And, thanks to roving Repman correspondent, Patti Palmer, we’re able to view a recent sampling from the hinterlands:
1.) The first photograph features a rear-window homage to The Rat (otherwise known as Mickey Mouse). I’m not sure if the seven mouse-eared cut-outs on the car signify seven visits to the Magic Kingdom of Rip-Offs or one, unforgettable sojourn to the a la carte pricing capital of the world by a single family unit. Either way, it’s disturbing.
2.) Number two shines the spotlight on a hearse on wheels that, in lieu of the actual headstones in a local cemetery, are intended to remind friends, family and complete strangers that Uncle Paul, Uncle Ricky and some other late, lamented family member are no longer with us. May their souls rest in peace. But, do I have to see their headstones when I park behind the car at a Walmart? Talk about the high price of low cost.
3.) Last, but not least, there’s the Fox & Friends salute to our current president. I remember similar, Blue State versions of this idiocy dating back to 1974, when every single car with a Massachusetts license plate came equipped with a bumper sticker that read, ‘Don’t blame me. I’m from Massachusetts.’ The advisory reminded voters that, in the 1972 presidential election, the Bay State was America’s only one not to vote for Richard M. Nixon (who, at the time, was assuring Americans he was not a crook for masterminding the Watergate break-in).
Tats on wheels is a worthy follow-up to the blog I penned about 9/11 marketing mistakes.
As I wrote then, aside from friends and families of victims as well as those who survived the terrorist attacks, organizations and individuals have no right to capitalize on the anniversary or bore us with the details of how they remember that god-awful day.
The same holds true for tats on wheels. I don’t care if you, and your clan, visited Disneyland, Disney World or any other theme park that charges $35 for a rain slicker. Nor am I impressed that your Chevy Suburban dug down deep and somehow found the wherewithal to surmount the final, steep stretch of Mt. Washington. And, I most certainly don’t need to read your creative application of the president’s first name on the back of your pick-up truck.
Let’s keep tattoos restricted to the small of the back, up-and-down the arms, the ankles, the calves and, in Iron Mike Tyson’s case, the face. America’s highways and byways have enough litter and road signs as it is. We don’t need your family room on wheels to join the fray and tell us what we don’t need, or want, to know.
And a tip o’ RepMan’s climbing helmet to to Repman’s Southeastern correspondent, Patti “The Pride of Jacksonville” Palmer for this idea and for the most excellent photographs.