“Don’t blame me I voted PLP;” “My child is on the honour roll;” “Go Fins;” Why work, when you could be fishing.” These are just some of the bumper stickers you might see as you drive along the city streets. When I lived in Nassau, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the bumper stickers on the cars as I sat in traffic, for what felt like hours.
When I read these bumper stickers I always wondered how much of what the sticker said represented the person driving the car. For the most part, the bumper sticker would align the driver to some academic institution, athletic team, religious organization or political ideology.
It is customary for these bumper stickers to suggest that all is well for the individual. These bumper stickers tell us that the driver’s child is in the right school, doing the right thing. The stickers tell us that the driver belongs to the church of the “one true God,” and is a member of the political party that is the best for the country.
However, the Miami Dolphin bumper sticker does not tell us that the driver of the Ford 150 could not make his mortgage payments for the last three months. And while, the mother driving the Toyota Corolla may be happy that her child is on the honour roll, the fact is that she is two terms behind in her child’s school fees.
If only the “don’t worry be happy,” bumper stickers could be a reality for the thousands of Bahamians who have much to worry about and are not happy at this time in their lives. Are these bumper stickers a band-aid for the cuts and bruises that cover the lives of thousands of drivers in this country?
Is it perhaps easier for us to read and re-read the bumper sticker in an attempt to escape from a reality of drudgery and despair? Some of these bumper stickers do give us comic relief without a doubt, but it is merely a respite from a reality that must be faced head on.
To ignore the negative realities in our lives will only lead to an insurmountable amount of pain and distress. While a reprieve from the doldrums of life is necessary, it must not last a life time.
The witty words or aphorisms on the bumper sticker might be a goal towards which we could work, but it must not just become a cover up for things we wish to disregard. No one likes to start the day thinking of all the bills and problems that plague them, so the bumper sticker that speaks to some other element of his life is understandably a welcome relief.
Today I challenge you to uncover what gashes or bruises you may be attempting to cover with the bumper stickers plastered across your vehicle? What elements in your life need to be addressed, but continue to be overlooked until a more appropriate time?
I am so sorry to inform you, but in case you have been living under a rock your entire life, you need to know right now that there will never be a right time; there will never be a perfect time. Life is messy and there are many spills along the way, so trying to cover up these messes with a bumper sticker will not make them go away.
Don’t let those stickers sit on your bumper too long, because the day you decide to peel away the bumper sticker that has been hiding your problems, you will discover that you have your original stains, plus the sticky glue from the sticker to try and clean up as well.
Of course the bumper sticker is a metaphor for that thing we use to cover up the blemishes and imperfections in our lives. So today it may be a bumper sticker, tomorrow it may be something else. But, hey, don’t mine me, I only write what I see.
About the author:
Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org