Ok, so it wasn’t a letter. Well, I mean, I suppose you could consider it one. Sort of. I don’t get very many comments on this site, and certainly not many from real people—I’m looking at you Malkovich. So when I do, I usually don’t realize it for months and then forget to respond to them at all, specifically that guy who found episodes of Jin Jin and the Panda Patrol after I mentioned it. I swear, I’m going get back to you soon. There’s another reason I’ve been thinking about comments and responses, and hopefully I’ll be able to share that reason relatively soon. So this was already on my mind when, in response to a terribly written and pointless rant about car window decals I posted a while back, random internet person Dave informed me that:
“The reason most people put decals on there cars is because they have built the motor, and turned them into little hot rods. A dumb ass wouldn’t know that. And it does make them look cooler. Nice webpage though, it makes you look like a idiot. But if you have anymore why’s hit me up, i’ll be glad to help you understand.”
While it took over a year and half from its original posting for Dave to stumble on it, probably while shopping for new windshield decals, I’m still a little miffed he hasn’t gotten back to me on the response I left for him. I tried to be timely. Also, Dave, you could not possibly have spent enough time on my site to establish that I am an idiot. Stats, Dave, stats. There just weren’t page views for the day you commented for you to have seen enough of Gas Station Burrito to make an educated determination. I would like an apology for that comment.
But in an effort to better communicate with all four of my readers and the other two people, in addition to Dave, who accidentally found GSB this year, I’d like to share my response again. I tried to balance being timely with offering a sincere and well thought out response. It’s probably the first time I was timely in anything and it was certainly more sincere than what that dick John Malkovich got…
I still don’t understand, but I appreciate your feedback. I’ve been thinking your comments over and I’d like to say this: To me it seems that the decals cheapen the car. I know next to nothing about cars, a fact I am ashamed of every day. Check the oil, fill the radiator, all four tires appear to be attached, that’s the extent of my knowledge. But the guys who rebuild their engines (and their friend’s engine, and their sister’s engine, and their neighbor’s…) the guys who bleed for their cars, who sink every day off and spare dollar into making, replacing, rebuilding, tracking down original parts, all in the service of, in some cases, works of art on four wheels, aren’t the type I’d expect to have decals on their cars.
Maybe I overestimate their pride in their own vehicles. Or I mistakenly thought they would surround themselves predominantly with similar-minded people, the sort who could tell you what you were running blindfolded just by listening to the engine turnover; the kind of person who would expect you to know their car a mile away from the custom exhaust system you helped them install, and to smile without realizing they had when the throaty rhythmic growl of a finely tuned engine hits their ears… and who, when in the company of the type of person who couldn’t tell a Cavalier from a Corvette and answers the question, “What do you drive?” with a color, knows that the subject of cars should never be broached.
With that in mind I find decals cheap and pandering for attention. It isn’t a lack of respect for the cars or those who built (or rebuilt) them. It’s the opposite, in fact. I find them cheap when I consider that those who’s attention they will grab are the opposite audience you deserve. They’re a stage cue for the shallow to swoon. The people you described, who’ve built motors and made hot rods, are exactly the type I would expect to avoid using decals. They’re not sorority girls hanging their graduation tassels from the mirror. They’re scrapped knuckles and grease ground in to the bone, and they are satisfaction that when they turn their key the engine starts because they made it. The people who know their car will know their car. They don’t need a decal to draw their eye, and certainly won’t be impressed by it. If anything, it seems to serve as a distraction from a truly beautiful custom car.
But, perhaps, we just have different opinions on the matter… thanks again for your feedback..
I wasn’t entirely satisfied with this response, wasn’t sure I was making my case clearly enough. I kept hearing my old boss telling me to stop over-thinking it and hit the button. Did I make my case? My opinion is that there are two types of car people: the kind that can rebuild a transmission, and the kind that can slap a light kit underneath their Civic that they bought at Wal-Mart. Which type sounds more likely to put a decal on their windshield?
I don’t understand decals on cars. I mean decals saying what kind of car it is. Really? You need that? Your memory is so bad that you need the make of your car in six inch letters on your windshield? There’s nothing cool about that. That doesn’t make your car look badass, and it doesn’t turn you into some kind of awesome car guy.
But I’m really proud of you, honestly I am. You bought a Corvette and now, thanks to that super classy decal, everyone knows it’s a Corvette. Now they know how cool you are. Because we didn’t know before. That it was a Corvette. By looking at the car.
Funny thing about cars—most of them already have their names on them. They’ve at least gone so far as to put the make on them. You can tell that its a Ford, a Chevy, anything at all. Chances are the model is there, too. Shit, you probably have a license plate frame on it advertising where you bought the car. From the car maker to the car seller, these people love to put their names on things. You’re paying them thousands of dollars to advertise for them. Its taken care of, ok? These things are covered, you’re good. We know what kind of car it is.
Why do you need the name of your car blasted on the windshield? And why would someone need their stupid nickname there either? I don’t care what your dad called you when you were five and even if I listened any of the thousand times you told me, I still wouldn’t see the point in putting it on your friggin car. The only thing worse than paying to make a decal of your nickname is giving the car itself a nickname and having a decal made with that.
Oh really, you named the station wagon you drove in high school the Shaggin Wagon? You’re so original. Why don’t you write a song about it, I bet it’ll be hilarious? No one cares.
In high school I saw a kid get hit by a car. It was right outside of the school too, a freshman got nailed by a senior in this piece of shit maroon Buick. He had a decal on his windshield that read, “Headhunter.” See? Windshield decals are a bad idea.
Even the smaller window decals are getting out of hand. Calvin pissing on things? It’s done. Stop. Now he’s pissing on himself pissing on things. I don’t even know what that means. Does that mean you like Chevy? Do you not like Calvin? Are you simply against using toilets?
You want to put your school name on the back window? Fine—that’s good, but let’s draw the line there. Its getting out hand. Your family? You want those little family decals so everybody knows how great you are? Look at that, you even have your little dog on there, too. Congratulations, you just gave a scorecard to a drunk driver.
Why would you put a giant decal on your window asking other drivers a question? Don’t I have more important things to be concentrating on than satisfying your curiosity about my preference in hot dogs or whether I miss George Bush yet?
What’s the point of asking—there’s no way I can answer you. And don’t say you put that sticker on there so that I might consider the answer and in that contemplation grow or learn something or whatever. I’ve never read a window sticker that made me slam on the brakes as I suddenly realized I’ve been wasting my life all these years.
What makes me happy? Wait a minute—what does make me happy? Why hasn’t anyone ever asked me that before? If only I’d seen your sticker sooner! Thank you car decal, you’ve saved me!