Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bumper Stickers

A car near my house has a bumper sticker that says "babette ate oatmeal." All lower case. 

I like bumper stickers.  I get a kick out of trying to figure out what a person is like by the text on their car:

La Nouvelle Orleans - C'est Chez Nous 
WWOZ (or ZOMM, if they put it on upside down). 
College allegiance. (LSU?  Clemson?  Arkansas?  Alabama?)
NPR or NRA supporter (almost never both).
Proud parent.
Church affiliation. 

Seems like everyone has a desire to choose their "tribe", announcing to all other drivers (and maybe a frightened pedestrian or two who thought they were safe on the sidewalk) what group they belong to.

Then there is the occasional pop-culture reference.  You'll see Trekkers that make a reference to Death Stars, or something.  Brownsuits that make Lightning Bug references.  Bronies that have subtle mentions of Princess Twilight (I had to look that one up - I swear. And now I have that blasted song in my head...)

And those who are in the tribe see the reference and grin.

My personal tendency is towards the unexpected pun or inside joke.  I know.... surprise, surprise.  But the "LEGALIZE ZAMATA" sticker has been on my tailgate for quite a while now.  And I always get a chuckle when I see one that I didn't expect. My current favorite is "WATCH OUT FOR THE IDIOT BEHIND ME". I am not sure how that identifies my tribe, exactly.  But it amuses me nonetheless.  Maybe my tribe comprises people who appreciate goofy humor.

So, after first seeing the neighbor's bumper sticker around the corner, I walked around mouthing the Babette phrase for a while. Not looking it up, of course, because that would be gaining entry into a tribe without going through the initiation ceremony.  Who does that?  Every time I walked the dogs around the block, I'd try again.  To no avail. What does it mean?  Is there an oatmeal pun
that I am missing?  Is there a Babette movement?   

Last night, Kathe and I were watching a Gilmore Girls rerun during dinner.  One of the characters in that episode had decided to sell t-shirts printed up daily with some funny phrase that just happened that day (a t-weet of the day, perhaps?).  And the phrase that day - printed up on the t-shirt - was 'babette ate oatmeal'.

I yelled, pointing at the TV.  "Our neighbor has that on a bumper sticker!" 

Unfortunately, now that I understand what the reference is, I am no closer to understanding the reference.  Is there a tribe of fanatic Lorelai fans out there, who have Kirk references that they smile and grin when they see it?  Is there a deeper joke that I am missing - where the pop-culture reference is being used ironically to indicate the shallowness of sit-coms?

Or was it a final joke by the car's previous owner, placed strategically before selling?

I suppose that there are some tribes you understand, and want to be a part of.  And others that you don't.  Either way, I am headed out to my car to scrape off the Tulane decal off the back.  I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea.

What do you have on your car?  What is your tribe?



GR Hollydale said...

Mainly various GA state parks. There's an Obama one, and one identifying myself as a geocacher - the latter being in part an attempt to not be harassed by the po-po when I'm parked in odd places and poking around in the woods as, I'm told, a meth dealer might.

benjamin griffeth said...

Wofford on one corner; Navy Reserve on the other. MuBeta Psi in the middle.

Elizabeth Henderson said...

Thanks for the mini-conversation starter - SOMEONE else is NOT a Gilmore Girls fan…if you have to explain it… ;)

Elizabeth Henderson said...

oh, and no stickers currently - am considering a Bernie Sanders one though...

NOJuju said...

None on our current vehicle, although Defend New Orleans punk skull will probably get added again at some point, identifying membership in the Katrina survival tribe. In the past, it was always band stickers; Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Pixies, The Cure, identifying membership in the I Wear A Lot of Eyeliner and Black tribe.