Lauren Rabaino

With so many hoopties out on the streets, it’s kinda hard not to customize with awesome things. But, uh, somehow, some way, people keep comin’ up with stuff that needs to be taken away. For real: Car accessories are getting way outta hand.

Bumper stickers are a good, cheap way to distinguish your ride from the others on the road and make the carpoolers behind you giggle, and that’s it. Believe me, no one has ever been persuaded to support a political candidate, recycle, save trees or convert to a religion by a bumper sticker. So don’t go out and buy “Real Men Love Jesus” or “Help Stop Over-Fishing: Don’t Eat Seafood” bumper stickers; they’re not going to make a difference. You’re just preaching to the choir or contributing to the road rage of sushi lovers. Instead of following this useless trend, let’s lead a new one by making bumper stickers that support ridiculous causes. For instance, a bumper sticker that says “Vacuum Your Cat Daily.” Or one that says “Make a Squirrel’s Day: Share Your Nuts.” These are giggle-guaranteed and don’t try to do more than a bumper sticker can. A piece of high-gloss paper with adhesive on the back is not going to save the world, but perhaps one laugh at a time, we can brighten people’s days with stickers like “Dust Your Cookies Before Eating Them: Support Mustache Rehabilitation.”

Another adhesive add-on that makes less sense than Fergie lyrics (honestly, what is your London bridge, and why are you so confused as to why it wanna go down like London London London?) is the stick-figure family decal. Why is it important that other motorists know how many children and animals you have in your car? I’m waiting to see a car with a man and a woman decal and then, like, 80 kid decals covering the entire back window … and maybe a few dogs and cats. That would be one way to do this trend right; the other way would be to have the man and the woman decals, a boy and a girl decal, and then a Bigfoot decal, preferably on the back window of a station wagon.

Stickers can be dumb and offensive at times, but there is no car accessory more vile, disgusting and utterly stupid than the testicle hitch cover. You’ve no doubt been driving behind a large truck and asked yourself, “What are those water balloons doing tied to the back of that guys bumper . and why are they a light-tan color?” I want to meet one of these people who own this accessory and ask them this line of questions: How did you feel in the checkout lane of the oversized-rubber-testicle store? Were you beaming with pride just thinking about all the awkward conversations you were going to spark between parents and their young daughters? Every truck I see with this accessory makes me so mad I just wanna kick it in the balls, but I don’t because I do not condone any physical damage to any crotchular region, real or fake.

And now: personalized license plates. They’re cool if it’s hard to read at first because then they’re creative and it’s a fun puzzle for other motorists, but I’ve seen some ridiculous ones this past year. My personal favorite was a plate that said SNOFL8K. Yeah, that’s easy to understand, but sound it out and it says “Snowfleight-K.” Other than random things like that, some people like to put interesting things about themselves on their license plate for absolute strangers to read. Like, BRDELVR. Yeah, like you, I thought it was “Beer Delivery” at first, but then I read the sticker in the back window that said “I Heart My Parakeet” and I realized it was “Birdie Lover.” Now what’s interesting about a personalized plate is that if it’s on a nice enough car, it can say anything and be free from ridicule. A Lamborghini can get away with BFSTSTY (Beef’s Tasty) or FLUFYLV (Fluffy Love), but your beater Corolla can’t. So unless you have a great idea for a plate, you might wanna leave it to high-end sports cars and yellow Hummers (because somehow they don’t look ridiculous enough for their owners.)

Now that’s not all I have to say about car accessories.

I would like to see a resurgence of the suction-cup-footed Garfield plush and the death of any and all Wal-Mart-bought modifications, but alas, we can’t have it all. For now you can refrain from preachy bumper stickers. Never sport a stick-figure family decal, keep balls where they belong (in sports, games and pants) and leave personalized plates to expensive rides. And when you see the TRENDASAURUS rollin’ through your hood, you better recognize because he pays out the ass for his DINOLUV plate.

Brian McMullen is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily columnist.

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