I don’t think I want to know anyone who has a “Calvin pisses on (name your least favorite auto manufacturer)” sticker on their car’s window. If someone gets that upset about a car company, imagine how upset they get about politics.
You know the sticker I’m talking about – they’re everywhere. It’s Bill Watterson’s “Calvin” character from his long-running (no longer) comic strip, Calvin And Hobbs. He posed with his back to you, pants undone, an evil grin on his face as he looks back over his shoulder at you – oops, you caught him peeing on one of his apparently many automotive dislikes! The irony here, as everyone knows, is that Watterson is Mormon, and therefore highly religious, and had nothing to do with these stickers (and wouldn’t allow his characters to be licensed for anything, stickers included.) Regardless, the stickers are now a regrettable part of our culture, and like anything so ubiquitous, comes to represent a sort of mentality of everyone – whether you’ve got the sticker on your car or not.
The big question is, what is it with rivalries like this? Could it be more inconsequential? Ooo, so you don’t like Chevy. What happens if your friend buys a Chevy? Can you still be friends with them, or have they gone over to the dark side? Or do you stay with them – because you’re a friend – to be there to help them up when they inevitably suffer the consequences of their bad decision? I can’t think of a better way to tell people that Americans have far too much free time on their hands than with a sticker that advertises your immense dislike of a particular manufacturer’s version of what is decidely a luxury item.
And notice that you don’t see this kind of rivalry between foreign auto makers. You don’t see Toyotas roaming around town with “piss on Nissan” stickers, or Volvos with “piss on Mercedes” decals, or Kia “piss on Daihatsu” stickers. Apparently drivers of foreign-made cars have an “it’s all good” mentality. Or maybe it’s just that they’re so satisfied that their cars are so much better made than the American-made cars that they feel no ill will toward anyone who doesn’t drive their particular brand. It’s all good.
There’s a new variant I saw this morning – it’s a little girl drawn in the Calvin style, but she’s caught taking a dump on the manufacturer of your choice. Because the peeing wasn’t offensive enough. And ooops! You caught her! Hence the addition of the evil wink. That’s class.
There’s a certain amount of machismo associated with these stickers, like joining a brotherhood or a frat at college. Part of it stems from the illicit nature of the stickers, a fact unknown to most of those who sport them on their cars. Regardless of its origins, it enters you into an unspoken ring of support. You know that anywhere you find a sticker matching yours, you’ve found one of your own. And if see a rival’s sticker suggesting your car needs to be peed on, you’ve got grounds for a brawl, my man. Get to it, beat up that bastard. No one disses your car like that.
Of course, to counteract this surge of violent testosterone tendencies, someone has come up with a sticker that says the opposite. Calvin, again with his back to you, kneels in the shadow of a scribbly cross, hands clasped in prayer. He’s praying for you, you sick bastards with your petty car rivalries.
I’m just waiting for the “Calvin pisses on ‘Calvin praying for your sad soul'” stickers. You know someone’s making them somewhere.
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