I don't mind being stuck in traffic. Then I can read bumper stickers and vanity license plates.
With election season here, I get to see more than the usual - "Dogs Against Romney" on the one side, and "Nobama '12" on the other.
My family's favorites: bumper stickers and plates that make us chuckle. "I like the ones with a sense of humor," says my 15-year-old. "People can express their opinion in this country, so they might as well do it in a funny way."
My kids and I aren't the only ones interested in words on cars. Ebaumsworld.com shows some fun plates, such as "WAS HIS" on the back of a Porsche Boxster.
But license plates are limiting since the word count is so short. So some of the funniest examples of freedom-of-speech-on-a-car are on bumper stickers.
One on a car at my local train station says, "Militant Agnostic. I Don't Know, and You Don't Either." And yesterday we spotted a soccer one: "Kick Some Grass."
Some people come up with their sticker sayings, but there are plenty for sale on websites. Two on stickergiant.com: "I Child-Proofed My House, But They STILL Get In" and "My Dog Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student." And zazzle.com sells "Student Driver. Stay 100 Ft. Behind. And While You're at It, 100 Ft. in All Other Directions Would be Smart," "Seven Words to a Happy Marriage. Yes, Dear - I'm Sorry - It's My Fault," and "Dad's Taxi Service. Now Open 24 Hours a Day - 7 Days a Week!" And prankplace.com includes "Wife and Dog Missing, Reward for Dog," "The Shortest Sentence is 'I Am.' The Longest is 'I Do," and "Be Nice to Your Kids. They'll Choose Your Nursing Home," "I Don't Need Kids. I Married One," "Embarrassing My Children. A Full-Time Occupation," "I'm in No Shape to Exercise," and "Money Talks. Mine Always Says 'Goodbye.'"
But back to plates. They can be more than just a few letters and numbers. Some state departments of motor vehicles go all out. In February, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced his state's official Super Bowl XLVI license plate, emblazoned with "Super Bowl Champions" at the bottom. The downsides: It's not funny. And even without personalization, it costs $60 plus an annual fee of $31.25.
Some drivers don't like using a plate of any kind. The New York Times and iTWire.com wrote about how Steve Jobs managed to get away without one. Basically, he changed cars every six months to exploit a California loophole that lets owners be plate-free for that long. Why no Apple-related vanity plate?
After all, Hugh Hefner uses "1 HEF" on his limo. Eye doctors go for "20 20" on their plates. And hog producers sometimes pick "PORKIE."
Inspired to buy a bumper sticker or a custom plate? Go for it. But remember that bumper stickers are the bargain way to go. An "I reserve the right to arm bears" sticker costs $4.25. A vanity plate in Illinois costs $94 extra. Sometimes freedom of expression doesn't come cheap.
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