Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bumper stickers

Just back from a long day at jury duty, with another long one coming tomorrow. I am the star of voir dires, a jury magnet. Friends spend their time knitting, catching up on their sleep and reading old Frederick Forsythe novels, while no sooner do I enter a room than both prosecution and defense pounce: we want the guy! Put him in the box!
Telling them I'm a freelance writer who needs to toil every day to make his lousy nickel does no good, nor does venturing less than politically correct opinions, or even dressing to the nines (current get-out-of-jury-duty folklore says that if you show up really well-dressed--say, a fur coat or three piece-suit--you're a cinch to be handed your walking papers).
But I don't have a three piece suit. (I do have a fur coat, but that's another story, believe me.) In any event, ever the Dirty Tricks historian, I was interested to note that the judge asked each prospective juror, during a long interrogation about personal preferences in television shows, exercise routines, and the like, if he or she had any bumper stickers. In particular, he seemed to be interested in "political bumper stickers."
He came up with zero--well, one young man had a decal reading "Honk If You're Horny"--but I could have told him that. Great, nasty presidential election bumper stickers seem to be a thing of the past. Newsweek ran an interesting piece a few months ago on the current crop of candidates and their stickers (read it here), but these are the designed-by-New York-logo-designer, campaign- sanctioned ones. What about all the "Trick Nixon Before He Tricks You" and "Cart Away Carter" bumper stickers that used to appear? Too soon, perhaps -- we do have 13 months to go, although it doesn't feel like it-- but your Dirty Tricks historian fondly remembers the days when two cars used to talk to each other--nay, snarl--as in 1964:
Goldwater supporter: IN YOUR HEART YOU KNOW HE'S RIGHT
Johnson supporter: IN YOUR GUTS YOU KNOW HE'S NUTS.

Don't get me started on the good old days or before long I'll be pining nostalgic for tomato throwing. Remember when people used to actually throw things at candidates? Chances are you don't. I'll refresh your memory tomorrow after a long day spent in the halls of justice. Perhaps I will wear my fur coat, after all....

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