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Stickering Your Adventure Whip

Editor’s Note: The following essay was originally featured on THE ROCK FIGHT podcast and is available to listen to in the player below.

Today I’m picking a fight with…STICKERS. Because what you put on your car says more about you than you may think.

I want you to think back to when you were a kid and you got your grubby mitts on some stickers and remember that elementally satisfying feeling of peeling and sticking those stickers on, well, anything.

When you were young, who cares what got stuck with your stickers. A full sheet of any sticker meant that something was going to get covered and it didn’t matter what.

Come to think of it, this is probably why peeling the protective film off of something like a new iPhone is the best part of getting a new device.

So peeling and sticking stickers is something that we all learn to do and love at an early age and when you combine that with the need to #humblebrag about our chosen interests or events, it creates this perfect stew of wanting to put stickers on our car or laptop both because stickers are fun and it provides guidance to the world when those around you make an immediate snap judgment about the type of person you are.

Well I’m here today to offer some guidance on your car stickering aspirations (you’re on your own with your laptop). Because like everything, there is definitely a right and wrong way to sticker up your whip. So here are the steps to a successfully stickered adventure vehicle.

Number 1 on the list, and most importantly, what’s the point of you putting stickers on your car? You need to decide why you even want to do this.

Are you just a shill trying to pay homage to all the brands who ever gave you a sticker when you bought something of theirs or stopped by their booth at a trade show? Are you looking for like minded folks to throw you a shaka as you pass each other on the highway? Maybe all you want is to piss people off who don’t agree with some point of view you have?

It’s important to establish your strategy before you start blasting stickers all over the back of your Toyota Tercel. You don’t want to end up with a ‘gun control is using both hands’ sticker next to an ‘arms are for hugging’ sticker. That’s just confusing.

Number 2, even if you are trying to piss people off, my recommendation is staying positive.

Because really what are you accomplishing by having divisive stickers on your car? Is anyone going to look at your <insert candidates name here> sticker and think, “huh, you know I was going to vote for the other person, but now that I’ve seen this sticker, I have changed my mind!”

And then that leads to the back and forth of politically motivated judgy stickers.

After ‘make america great again’ we got a bunch of knock offs like ‘make america nice again’ and then that was responded to with ‘let’s go brandon’.

I can’t wait to see what the Trump/Biden rematch will yield next year.

All the petty back and forth between two political ideologies does is prove that you have nothing better to do but sit around and be angry about politics so much so that you’ve gone and put a sticker on your car because, that’ll show them! Just stop.

Third (and this is an extension from staying positive which is important to call out because on the surface these seem positive but they may be even more divisive than political stickers) stay far away from stick figure families, the counter to stick figure families (things like a dinosaur eating the family or the more on the nose ‘i don’t care about your stick figure family sticker) and maybe the most important of them all to avoid: race distances.

Look, good for you for running a 5k or even a 100 miler. I’m excited that you finished that 70.3 mile half ironman. You should be very proud of yourself for accomplishing such a goal, but your mileage sticker is mostly having the adverse effect of inspiring people.

Unless the desired effect was pissing people off, because then it is working.

If we’ve learned anything from social media is that we should be more comfortable not talking about everything. Your ultramarathon finish is meaningful to you…and no one else.

So what are the best stickers? Stuff that represents who you are, where you’ve been or will make others smile.

We have a rule with our family truckster that we can put location stickers on it, if the van has visited those locations. Band stickers or music labels are always cool and original. Did the ultramarathon you run have an event sticker? That’d be cool!

Be a beacon of hope or lightheartedness with your stickers. Be the car that everyone almost gets into an accident because they’re so distracted by how fun your stickers are. Aim to make others smile, not piss them off, and you can’t go wrong.

Lastly, and most importantly, there is a sticker that should never be put on your car. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to talk about this today, but I can’t lose the opportunity to guide even one person away from falling under the spell of this…thing.

Because there is one sticker that inspires more hate and anger than any political or social stance sticker could ever hope to. If Sauron’s one ring of power were a sticker, it would be this. Fortunately for many people worldwide they are safe from encountering it at any point in their lives, but for the nearly 15 million people who live in the northeast corner of the United States it's something they see on an almost daily basis…the sticker I am of course referring to is the:

This Car Climbed Mount Washington sticker.

If you told me I could Thanos snap those stickers out of existence but in exchange the polio vaccine would never have been invented I’d choose the sticker. That thing is a scourge of epic proportions.

And if I have to explain to you why I feel this way, just know that we are enemies and I will pick a Rock Fight with ANY OF YOU who think your car ‘climbed’ Mount Washington.


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