I Hate Bumper Stickers

Published on 16 June 2024 at 14:51

I don’t know about you, Dear Reader, but I seem to be bombarded some days by ‘bumper sticker’ social media posts, with everyone and his brother, and everyone his brother has ever met, coming up with a few words of advice, homilies capturing how to deal with everything that ever happens in life, and I hate them, which is unusual for me, and mock them for their stupid cleverness and triteness, condemn them as the lowest form of so-called wisdom, fit only to be ignored or quickly forgotten.

Paradoxically, I am surrounded by signs and messages, on my desk, around my house, on my walls, and in my head.

I grew up on cornflakes for breakfast, and ‘Rise and Shine’ is still often the first thing that enters my head in my first moments of wakefulness in the ungodly early hours. Whatever's in your head, positive or negative, that's how you'll start the day, for better or worse.

A sign on my desk, in big wooden letters, beautifully crafted, says BELIEVE, but I don’t know what in, and only keep it because, for reasons that are unknown, even to me, it very often makes me laugh. 

Close by is a little sign, from a supermarket, that says ‘Think Happy, Be Happy’, about as true yet trite as they come, and I keep meaning to tape over all the words apart from ‘Think’, which is a reminder I really need, a lot of the time. It's clear as can be, whatever you believe, what you think is what makes you do, or not do, and how you do it, with conviction, or without.

My Laughing Buddha is there too, arms raised, open to the world, always smiling, and I wouldn’t be without him. Even in the midst of the maddest of days, there is something that will make you smile, if you look for it.

I’ve written a quote on the first page of my new notebook, King Solomon’s wisdom, ‘This too will pass’, mostly so I look for the light, on good days and the other ones. Change is a constant, that's half the fun of life.

There’s a picture, black and white, of me aged five, so I don’t lose sight of who I am, and I’m still the same as that little kid, happy and scared and excited and hopeful. I'm much more besides, too, the core remains, but you can, and do, add to it every day.

A book of Walt Whitman poems is on the shelf, and if I picked it up it would fall open at Song of the Open Road, and ‘I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune’, and that’s always in my head, it’s sort of the guide for my operating system, or my mind as most would say. You're just as lucky as you want to be.

On the wall is a framed cheque, to remind me of something, but it doesn’t.

Finally, my favourite sign, from The Ship in Soho, ‘When morale improves, the beatings will stop’, just to remind me of my friend, Richard, who was often sat at the bar. Friends matter, even when they're gone, don't you think?

Turns out I don’t hate bumper stickers, just everyone else’s bumper stickers.

Dear Reader, no advice this week, just check your bumper stickers, are they helping?

Good Fortune 


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