All summer long I’ve been dropping the boy off at day care on Mondays through Thursdays so that I can have the house to myself to write. On Fridays he stays home with me and we do daddy and son stuff, mostly going to the zoo and watching lots of cartoons, because I am a shitty parent. About three out of every four days that I drop him off there’s another parent dropping her kids off at the same time. She has the following bumper stickers on her car. Forgive the yellow one; I had to stealth the picture and plus it’s really faded so it’s gonna be hard to read no matter what:
This reads “STROKE RESULTS IN CEREBRAL PALSY: I HAVE CP.”
This one’s readable, obviously.
Can someone help me put myself in this person’s head enough to understand what the hell the deal is with these two bumper stickers? Generally, bumper stickers fall into a couple of different categories, as far as I can tell, and sometimes more than one depending on the sticker. They are:
- Deliberately Pissing People Off
Note that frequently “Advocacy” and “Deliberately Pissing People Off” are understood to be one and the same category. I can’t tell what these are supposed to be for. There’s something weirdly confrontational and aggressive about them, magnified by the fact that they’re both on the car. I don’t need to know that this lady has cerebral palsy; that’s private medical information and none of my goddamn business. There’s no real “find a cure!” vibe here. And you could maybe make an awareness case, because at least I got home and looked up what “left hemiplegia” meant, but now that I’ve done that I’m pretty sure that the person who owns this car shouldn’t be driving. None of the signs of left hemiplegia listed on that website make me think that people exhibiting those symptoms should be piloting nearly two tons of vehicle (the stickers are on an SUV).
So… what’s going on here? What’s the endgame of these bumper stickers? If it was going for a “people with CP can do whatever they want” vibe, I’d be good with that, I suppose, but that doesn’t seem quite right. The left hemiplegia thing almost scans “AVOID ME ON THE ROAD,” which I guess is a public service announcement of sorts, but why the hell would you want people to know that about you?
Why the hell would you want anyone to know either of those things about you, in fact? Cerebral Palsy isn’t AIDS or something; there’s no societal shaming aspect to it that I’m aware of– and it’s a common enough disease that mere awareness (“We’re here! We have CP! We have the same life expectancy you do!”) doesn’t seem likely to be the goal. And, like I said, the presence of both bumper stickers scans as weirdly hostile and aggressive.
Which, by the way, is the reason I haven’t just asked her. I’m wary about sticking my hand into crazy on this one, which is why I’d rather ask the Internet; I feel like engaging this person might end up being a poor decision.
So: suggestions? I’m clearly missing something here; fill me in, if you can.