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Clothing May Be the New Bumper Sticker

Fresh off my recent musings about the growing need for subtitles, I found myself being entertained by snarky phrases on baseball caps and t-shirts (drink koozies also). Carrie and I attended a local music festival, and ballcaps were being sold aplenty. I will not share their unbefitting content, appropriately available at the “Inappropriate Trucker Hats” tent, as it violates my vague crassness policy. But this made for good entertainment, such as a seven-year-old sporting one that read “I USED TO BE HOT”.  A few other gems: “DRY HEAVE & RALLY”, the related “SORRY FOR WHAT I SAID WHEN I WAS DEHYDRATED”, “BEST EX EVER”, and one that I would have worn at least once, “THIS BAND SUCKS”. Occasionally, some valuable social commentary could be found, such as “NOT EVERYONE NEEDS A PODCAST”.

These visual soundbites on caps and shirts enhanced the people-watching and complemented the big plate of curly fries we decided to spring for at one point (we passed on “Turkey legs $$15” but were pleased to see that as an option).

The weathered festival host enjoyed hearing himself rant between sets. One of his three rules was “If you’re planning to be an a**hole, stay home!” But that didn’t add up because loads of music fans were being just that via their cap-or-shirt message boards. Also, if anyone was planning this at home, they wouldn’t be there to hear him. If he had said it right, Carrie and I decided, jerks probably wouldn’t be listening to him anyway. He should have printed his rules on a tee and sold that at the merch tent.

All the impertinent, urgent messages on display reminded me that we used to see this stuff more on bumper stickers. We still do, on vehicles the age and class of, well, mine, but individuals along a wide socioeconomic range have upgraded to spiffy rides these days. So, understandably, it’s not as common to plaster irremovable signage on those shiny finishes or molded “bumpers.” Maybe just a window decal here and there. But with all the built-in technologies, it sure wouldn’t be difficult for Ford to offer an LED reader board option for the back window. It could even be pre-loaded with some sass: “SAY HELLO TO THE PRIUS DESTROYER”, OR “DOUBLE THE VALUE OF YOUR CHEVY: FILL UP THE TANK!”

So, last week when I suggested that we could get our points across better by carting around our messages on posterboard—well, I realize now that people are already doing it on caps. And IN CAPS.

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