Friday, August 24, 2012

Are We Losing an Important Technology?

One thing that I was particularly aware of growing up in the 60s was Bumper Stickers.  They were ubiquitous but I do have to admit that they were rather unsightly and all too many were of questionable social propriety. 

I really don’t miss their slipping off into obscurity.  You still see some Bumper Stickers, but in these days of expensive, albeit invisible, rear bumpers, most Bumper Stickers have migrated upward where they now decorate the incredibly large rear windows on today’s SUVs. Nevertheless, I still find them interesting from a historical and perhaps mildly “perverted” perspective and I still read all that I encounter.

I guess, in respect for the potential safety issues associated with their new position on the vehicle, they have become smaller.  Their smaller size means that fonts must also be smaller. Curiously, I have found that some of the fonts are often very odd.  These factors, combined with poor contrast between letters and background, often makes stickers virtually impossible to read.  I my opinion, this pretty much defeats their purpose.   

So, of late I have been pondering – while carving, naturally, because that is when I do my best pondering -- the notion: “Despite our embracing an ever accelerating rate of growth in technology, have we allowed our vital “Bumper Sticker technology” to go fallow?” 

A case in point:

I was on my to work the other day when an SUV merged in front of me.  The car had a sticker  on its rear window!  As we drove on the sticker’s “siren song” kept calling out: “Read Me!  Read Me!”  Alas, the font was too small and the contrast too poor for me to read it.  But, regardless, it kept calling to me.

Since I go nearly apoplectic when someone tailgates me, I always try to maintain a good separation between vehicles.  And, normally, I would have been upset by anything that would impede my progress but that day I was delighted to encounter a traffic slowdown. Now, finally,  I could get close enough to read it!

When things finally came to a halt, I slowly moved a tiger closing in on its elusive prey...I crept closer and closer until finally my bumper was nearly touching his…I stopped…I leaned forward in my seat…I squinted, ready to absorb the full impact of the vital information that the sticker wanted to share with me so desperately…It said, and I quote, “BACK OFF!”


Now, don’t you think that if the owner of that car was really interesting in ensuring that no one encroached too closely to his vehicle he/she would have chosen a sticker big enough to read while you were actually at the desired distance from the rear of his vehicle?

One for the Bench

Or maybe...just maybe...has this once vibrant form of communications technology just been lost to the ages? :-)

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