Friday, August 29, 2014

Theory 15: Tailgate etiquette is not an oxymoron.

Friends, this post from last year is a reader-favorite and perfect for this weekend as many of us gear up to tailgate and cheer on our teams. Enjoy! Go Big Orange!

Theory 15: Tailgate etiquette is not an oxymoron.

Over many years, I observed every type of behavior—from southern chivalry to northern aggression. I’d like to give a shout out to my buddy “Mint Julep” for prodding me to write about tailgates! Mint Julep and her husband actually treated Tall Child and me to a private plane ride to Tuscaloosa to watch Tennessee take on The Crimson Tide. What a great day! I’d like to thank all my friends for this blog’s fodder, even you Alabama fans.

Tailgaters travel a spectrum from calm, civilized, linen-draped tables and guests of The Grove (Ole Miss) to sweltering, sweat-soaked, foot-stomping 2-bits, 4-bits cheering fans in The Swamp (Florida). Tall Child and I built our own little Tennessee Tradition; we hosted season after season of great tailgate parties. For many years, we even held an annual kick-off party at home to fire folks up for the tailgating (and SEC football) season. We started in Lot 9 with the in-laws, and then we moved to G-10 (a multi-level parking garage beside Thompson-Boling arena) and gathered up family and a few more friends. I loved snagging the top corner spot over the garage entrance. We could cheer in UT fans or harass the opposing team. Once, Delicious and Big Booty J helped organized a huge TN vs. Georgia tailgate party. Delicious draped a giant Georgia flag over the railing. It was upside down. We never told her. Alongside the upside-down flag, we dangled a stuffed bulldog on a long rope and tormented Georgia fans as they rolled through. I saw this idea when I was in AthensGA with the UT band. A couple of trumpet players sat on the sidewalk as we waited to enter the stadium and every time a Georgia car cruised by in the molasses slow traffic, the boys threw the stuffed bulldog under its wheels. We cracked up as Georgia fans of all ages fumed as they crushed their own mascot. Finally, we found the supreme tailgating spot in Knoxville: a flat paved rooftop above a one story building – no cars, just thousands of square feet with huge crowds and a view of the stadium and the river. Those parties were the best. We even hired live bands for the big games. Yes, tailgating gets rowdy, but there are rules. Tailgate etiquette is not an oxymoron.

So, today, I present you with a list of tailgating rules. Tailgaters, be gentle toward one another. You have many games and years ahead of you.

Rules for the host/hostess (per the always succinct and ever gracious Tall Child):

Never run out of beer or food.

Beat your guests to the tailgate spot. Tall Child explains “The head guy has to be the first one there.”

Invite a lot of people.

Rules for tailgaters in general:

If the host offers to haul your stuff, drop it off per his instructions and be punctual.  If you drop off a cooler, make sure it’s packed and it rolls.

Designate a driver. Run-ins with the Po-Po take away from the spirit of the party. If you do get arrested, do it before we take pimento cheese out of the cooler.

"C ome here, boy!"

If you have a big car and a parking pass (lucky), don’t roll up solo! Offer rides.

Bring a chair. If you don’t, don’t take the last one. If you don’t bring a chair and sit on a cooler, if anyone makes eye contact with you, get up.

If you invite a female northern friend to a southern tailgate, give her the dress code. Girls in the south wear party outfits to football games. Staples include big earrings, feminine blouses and skirts or dresses, high heels or cowboy boots. G.R.I.T.S., if you travel outside the SEC, do a little research before you pack. Tall Child and I tailgated with Indiana friends at Notre Dame. I showed up in a skirt and they wore sweatshirts. I froze. FYI – That was one of my favorite tailgates ever! The ND fans were laid back, friendly, and most didn’t even go in the stadium.

Speaking of clothing, Tennessee fans, pick a shade of orange and stick with it.

When it comes to neighboring tailgates, remember the old poem, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Respect the invisible boundaries. But, if you lose your Southern Comfort cool and attack a nearby tailgater by force, take a lesson from my cousin Roscoe’s division one performance. Sharky was throwing football with a friend. He missed his catch and the football landed in a neighboring tailgate. Some jerk threw Sharky’s ball way out into the parking lot. Roscoe strolled over, picked the guy up, wiped his tailgate table clean (with the guy’s body), dropped him, and walked away calmly. Well played, Roscoe. You are still Sharky’s hero!

The good ole' days.

Keep a sound friend to food ratio. A-Boo says, “Don’t’ bring half a tray of pinwheels and nine friends.”

Don’t expect the host to think of everything and accommodate your friends or coworkers, whom he’s possibly never met. If you invite extra people, entertain them. Don’t leave all the conversing up to your hosts. Be a mini-host! All are welcome. Help them feel that way.           

If you are a slow roller (show up two hours before game time “really tired from the night before”) don’t call the host and ask if he needs more ice. Uncle Trout says, “When is the last time you ever heard anyone say We have got too much ice?” Just bring it.

Don’t ask anyone to watch your stuff while you go into the stadium. Stay with it or prepare to sacrifice it.

No moral authority allowed! Party at your own risk!  Keep in mind that the presence of children and bosses change the dynamics of any party. If you bring either, take care of them. Don’t let children sit right in front of the big screen TV that other grownups bought and hauled. Don’t tell adults not to smoke, curse, yell, or drink. The tailgate is their domain.  If you bring your children, bring your children food and drinks. Trust me. Diet Coke, cranberry juice and orange juice have a different purpose under the tent and they certainly don’t belong in sippy cups. Ooh, and keep your young’uns out of the Jell-O. This ain’t Morrison’s Cafeteria and most hosts don’t pack stomach pumps. If you roll up with a baby stroller, make sure there’s a 20 pound bag of ice in its bottom basket.

Please use hand sanitizer before you hit the sandwich platter.

Don’t ask anyone, “Do you have room in your cooler for this?” Most will say yes, because we are nice and want you to have a good time. However, it’s better if you just bring your own cooler. Even Sharky packed his own tiny cooler of Gatorade, Doritos, and fruit snacks. Good little southern boy.

Our buddy “Renaissance Man” often cooked gourmet breakfasts of pancakes, bacon, and sausage on his griddle for the early-bird setup. Then, he’d cook huge extravagant lunches of low country boil or chili for the whole crowd. If you have such a kind chef in your crew, offer to bring ingredients or give him cash. If you eat by the pound, pay by the pound!

Smokers – step outside the tent area to smoke. Non-smokers, don’t fuss at the smokers. It’s an outdoor party.

Speaking of atmosphere, hosts (hostesses) actually go to a lot of trouble to organize the food tables. We spread tables with ironed cloths, use “real” plates, decorate with flowers, hang battery-operated chandeliers, and designate areas for drink mixing, salty snacks, and sweet treats. Please don’t slap grimy purses, fuzzy coats, empty bottles, and trash on our pretty Southern Living September issue inspired tablescapes.

Cousin Fuzz, a dedicated Vol fan and thoroughbred tailgater, reminded me to address a particular party phenomenon: the folks who stagger up to tailgates where they know no one. She calls them “stray cats.” Fuzz says, “Stray Cats, you are welcome. It’s cool for you to drop in, but know your role. Stay on the perimeter. Make friends and mingle. Just like the yard-apes, you should never sit front row at the big screen. And, whatever you do, don’t touch another man’s vodka.”

Singletons and married folks, tailgates get tricky sometimes. All kinds of things can go wrong in the heat of SEC rivalry. Don’t offer to keep your friend’s husband company while she goes into the game. Instead, go with her. He’ll be okay after a little nap.

If you wear heels, bring flip flops, too, because heels, vodka, onion dip, and standing in Auburn heat for six to 12 hours makes pretty little feet hurt. Plus, at some point in the evening, you’ll hear “Dixieland Delight” and feel the urge to clog. You don’t want to shuffle-step-ball-change barefoot on dirty concrete littered with charcoal dust and pointy bottle tops. That’s just not lady like. Also, take it from me; it’s not cool to clog if you have to hold on to a chair, a person, or the tailgate tent post to stay upright for your butter churn. Some of us need to do our clogging earlier in the day.

When it’s time to go into the stadium, some tailgates pack up. HELP. Don’t just set your drink down, check your tickets, and walk off. If yours is a late-night post-game tailgate, remember that your host may have been in that parking lot since as early as 5am. HELP. Bag chairs, haul stuff to his car.

Sunday morning (as soon as you recover), come and get your nasty cooler.

The most important rule of all is simple for most but oh, so, difficult for some. Please please please please please please please BRING YOUR OWN BEER!

A couple of years ago, some rich donor gave money to the UT School of Engineering to construct a giant educational building. They dynamited our dynamite tailgate spot. I cried. Tall Child used that and a terrible season to hang up our tailgating cleats for now.  I am forever thankful to every person who ever came to my tailgate – no matter how you behaved and whether I knew you or not. Thank you for creating some of the best weekends of my life (especially the ones I barely remember).

Tall Child in his element.

Tall Child and I have passed the Tennessee Tailgating Torch to the younger crowd and hope they deliver their friends and families a great season. We wish you safety and success as you cheer on the Volunteers. Do not feel compelled to carry on our traditions. Create your own. Which reminds me of Theory 16: People erroneously think they can do other people’s jobs.

See you next post. Until then, think outside the barn.

Go Big Orange!

Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Freedom and School Supplies

I started my workday with a 7:55 technology team meeting and am in the midst of a five-block Friday with NO planning period. Teachers, you understand how exhausting and non-stop that type of day is.  Oh, and I go back to college, again, tomorrow, for semester two of my M. Ed. program. Thus, I made an executive Crippled Beagle Publishing decision (I am the one and only executive, after all), to post a chapter from my small book, Parents, Stop and Think. It's perfect for this time of year! I hope you enjoy it. Happy back to school and happy Friday everyone.


Excerpt from Parents, Stop and Think


I.  Offering Freedom

            As a teacher and writer, I study my crafts.  As a mother, I strive to raise my boys, Houston (12) and Scotty (4), to become compassionate, confident, and self-sufficient.  Research, training, and trial and error help, but teaching, writing, and parenting are art forms.  To be successful, I must reflect and adjust.  I must stop and think.
            Alone at a retail store in the August of Houston’s last year of elementary education, I passed a display of local school supply lists.  I scanned halfway through the bulleted sheet of 5th grade requirements and stopped.  I thought.  Houston should make these selections.
            Parents in a stressful rush, on a budget, and looking at the world through adult goggles often miss things—things minor to us and major to our children.  My father’s mother, “Wimmie,” a widow and hospital pastry cook, squirreled away money for years to buy my father, Scott, a “sporty” car for his sixteenth birthday.  My mother later asked her, “Why’d you make that sacrifice when you were struggling?  Scott understood you couldn’t afford a car.”
Wimmie explained, “I knew that was the only age Scott would actually care about a fancy car.  It was important to him then.
            My colleague Sherri’s son, Joey, broke his glasses the day before middle school started.  Joey, who is normally easy-going, became distraught.  Sherri understood.  They skipped school and went straight to the optometrist, who rushed the order and treated Joey’s “huge” problem and genuine anxiety with respect. 

~ ~ ~

            I teach high school freshmen and am routinely intrigued by their reasoning.  They crave autonomy (thus the obsession with learner’s permits).  They love choices.  They embrace self-paced lessons that may be challenging but lack a teacher’s constant directives.  Though the fourteen and fifteen-year-olds vary by academic ability, physical and emotional maturity, backgrounds, resources, and personality traits, they share certain age-old truths and human characteristics.  Teenagers don’t function well when they are hungry, tired, poorly dressed, lacking supplies, or, honestly, worried about their hair.  Their problems are big—in their eyes, and should be treated as “big” by adults.  If your son asks for a certain type of deodorant, and you can afford it, buy it.  If your daughter braids, cries, and re-braids her hair, be patient.  Compliment her.  If your son asks to be dropped off to walk the last block to school with his buddies, indulge him.  Teenagers want to be taken seriously and treated with respect—by peers and adults.
            Parents, sacrifice to give your children what they need.  Give them safe autonomy and confidence through independence.  What decisions can your children make now? 
What do they need to feel enthusiastic to greet the world each day?  Privacy?  A new lunchbox?  The opportunity to select and organize their own school supplies?  Extra time for hair and make-up?  Prayer?  Time with friends?  Your attention?  At some point this year, your children will likely beg, “But I really need to buy/to see/to do this!” Don’t dismiss their pleas as materialistic or small-minded.  Remember back to your childhood days.  Reflect on concerns that were “major” to you.  Stop and think. 

What do you think, parents and teachers? What do your children and students need most this time of year? Find me, friend me, and comment here or on social media. 

Author website:
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Facebook: Jody Cantrell Dyer
Twitter: @jodycdyer

See you next post. Until then, think outside the barn!

Visit or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!!! I am giving away two signed copies of Parents, Stop and Think. Click here or visit for more details.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Theory 49: All bumper stickers offend someone, but that’s the point, right?

Now that I’m back on the road, commuting 45 minutes each direction, I see lots of bumper stickers. I can’t text and drive. A Knox County sheriff’s deputy and I had a nice conversation about that when I almost side-swiped him on Asheville Hwy. Teachers, always work the fact that you are teachers into conversations with the popo. We, they, and nurses: popo simpatico. So texting is out, I haven’t had time to check out an audio book from my school’s library, and I’m all alone in the car with no one to talk to (though I do practice —out loud—putting folks in their places to work out my demons), so I study bumper stickers.

My teaching buddy Scone-Ad actually suggested this topic for a Theory. She owed me anyway, since I blame her and her food and nutrition class students for plumping me up with end-of-year surprise cupcakes and sausage balls. Scone-Ad has perfected the shape, size, texture, and flavor of sausage balls. She also has a unique technique for warming buns in her four person pop-up camper.

So Scone-Ad, Red Hot Backspace, Man of Measure and I had a little in-service lunch time to kill so we brainstormed some of our favorite bumper stickers to hate. They thought of some solid winners/losers. Then I reached out to my buds on social media for more fodder. They delivered. To protect relatives from relatives and from making things a bit awkward in pews, school pickup lines, and country club locker rooms, I’m listing the stickers my crowd hates without identifying everyone who contributed. Too bad for some of you. If you have a nickname, I copied and pasted (I LOVE to copy and paste) from Facebook.

You can assume that I am guilty of slapping many of these labels on Big Red over time. You may also assume that I am grossed out by many of these stickers. Just reflect. Be Socratic. Consider the opposing viewpoint for a time. In other words, Go on and get mad, but you know you agree.

Now, this is a living, breathing, post, so check back later for updates. Why? Because I fell asleep reading Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale while our precious Gnome watched videos of himself on my cell phone under the covers. It could have been the covers, or Gnome, or Buzz, or maybe that copperhead who visited my silverware drawer, or the mice who visited first (thus the copperhead). Regardless, some one or some thing swallowed my cell phone. Which stinks. You see, I took my research to the field; I used a voice recording app on my phone as I drove to and from school this week. Dang it to helk! I had to leave home without my phone, and I’m typing the blog EARLY morning in my classroom. I am not on duty, spending no school money, etc. so it’s all good. Please don’t get those county popo after me again.

Long story short, when I find my phone (sweet Tall Child is great at finding things I lose), I’ll listen to my twangy recordings and update the blog. Shoot. I had some good stuff on there, but let’s see how I do from my eerily Delicious-like memory.
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A popular term right now in education is “response to informational text.” Bumper stickers are informational text, right? Below, I’ve listed the stickers my buddies and I dislike. Underneath each sticker, I’ve constructed a response to those who display them and written a few potential new stickers to perhaps replace the offensive ones. Enjoy!

From, hmmm, let’s call him “Febreeze” because he smells GREAT all the time and his shirts are super fresh and women love to watch the wind blow in his beautiful hair. Plus, once, when Sharky smelled the clean, soft bath towels right out of our dryer, he said, “Oooh, this smells just like daddy’s friend [Febreeze].”

Febreeze doesn't like the 26.2/13.1 stickers. He says, "You are in better shape than I am. I do not need the reminder while I am driving around town. I saw one that said 0.0 and that made me smile."

True, true, Febreeze. I was offered a pedometer at school and turned it down. It's pretty obvious I don't do 13.1, 26.2, 1.1, or really even 0.1, except after a hard party tailgate. Remember, one of my high school nicknames was "Slo-Jo." Maybe someday I'll "run" again, because I do value exercise and sportsmanship, as I illustrated in Theory 5: Play a sport, even if you suck at it. I would like to give a yee-haw out to all you ladies who walk at Lakeshore Park in KnoxVegas. How about we print some stickers that say 2.1 in the 919?

Let's analyze this one. First, congratulations for having a child who makes good grades. Quick question: Were you one of the families whose grades suffered under Pontius Pilate, oops, I mean Common Core? If so, I am sorry, you'll have to remove your sticker. If not, consider that you may indeed be teaching your child to boast. Let me get religious on you. One of my favorite Bible verses reads, "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." Matthew 23:12, KJV

In other words, don't over exalt yourself (because we all know you are really just sneakily bragging that you are smart and passed your smart genes down to your young'un), or your child will be humbled and so will you. One day, you are cruising down Kingston Pike sporting your honor roll bumper sticker. A year later, you are cruising down Kingston Pike to register Junior for Sylvan Learning Center. 

New sticker: My child repeated first grade. I blamed it on his hearing problems, but really, I didn’t read to him 20 minutes a night like I was supposed to. It’s all my fault.

I can't wait to be exalted. Sorry, Sharky!

Parent, what’s your goal with this one? Is this where that whole obsessive bully trend originated? Also, what if your child actually tries to beat up an honor student and gets the helk beat out of him? Then what have you got? A weak dummy? Paste cautiously.

Contrary to my contrary statement, some students should be recognized for athletic prowess and kinesthetic excellence! I wrote a whole post about it in Theory 42: Modern education has ruined field day.

Both of these stickers created a tiny stir after my social media prompt. My buddy “Elaine” is quite articulate, and summed it up even better than I. She wrote, "Personally I love the 'my kid beat up your honor student.' I sported it and an 'I break for boiled peanuts' for several years. I detest the braggy parent bumper stickers 'my kid is an honor student/cheerleader/nuclear physicist/one-legged belly dancer.' My kids are great, too, but they don't need me, as their parent, to advertise that fact on the butt of my car. Hopefully, they can get their validation in some better venue than a dirty piece of adhesive vinyl. And I agree with the disdain for the cross fit/marathon/I have 2% body fat stickers, too. Those dudes need to eat a piece of cake and take a nap."

Amen, sister wife! Poor guys. No dairy. No carbs. They never enjoy the magical, savory experience of onion dip on ruffled chip.

By the way, "Elaine's" children are honors students. They also have black belts. Bazinga!

Whatever. All I can say is that Obama’s tax increase decreased Tall Child’s paycheck significantly, which decreased my quality of life by increasing my debt. Geez. I did qualify for a student loan for my master’s degree, though. Yippee! Maybe next he’ll give me 40 acres and a mule. Never mind. I already have that. Maybe next he’ll give me another student loan so I can go on another vacation. Huh? What? Who said that?
Obama/Biden won, so why do folks still campaign for them? Because they have to?

New sticker: Somebody better who will still grant me student loans, please, 2016

Socialized medicine creates long waits. One yeast infection. That’s all you need to turn Republican. 
One. Yeast. Infection.

Besides reminding me of the snake in my silverware drawer, this smells of militia. It is historical, but it’s still eerie. Cross Country (my loving, liberal, witty geography teacher who diagnosed me with slow-twitch muscle fibers) says those stickers “insult our founding fathers.” Let’s not insult our founding fathers, friends.

Good idea. I bet your child is on the honor roll.

New sticker: I break for anything that outweighs me and whose physical properties can put me in the grave.

Too bad bicycle guys don’t have room for bumper stickers.

FB comment from my beloved, colorful, awesome/wondrous neighbor and surrogate grandmama to Sharky and Gnome, "Auntie Mame": "I saw a car with the 'practice random acts of kindnes' on the bumper, all the while the driver is honking at people riding their bumpers and shooting them a bird! She was confused!!!"

Is it bad that sometimes I love shooting birds? Is that because I grew up in Pigeon Forge, I fished with dough and night-crawlers, and my crushes wore mullets?

This one burns my biscuit. I Googled it. Some Yahoo answerer defined the symbols this way:

C is the symbol for Islam 
O is the symbol for peace 
E is the symbol for males/females 
X is the symbol for Judaism 
I is dotted with a Wicca pentacle
S is the symbol for the yin-yang or Confucianism 
T is the symbol for Christianity

Wicca? Really? REALLY?

Why’d they leave out good old Buddha? I kind of like him now that our thighs match.

One afternoon as I rode shotgun in Bop's Cadillac, she said, "I like that sticker. It's nice." She likes the idea of folks getting along, but seriously doubt she's a fan of the Wicca pentacle!

I can’t wait to tell her.

The evolutionists try so hard. Always working their way into public schools to expel God and take over our science curriculum. We discussed this in Theory 23: God and prayer are most definitely in schools. It’s a shame you are going to helk. I’m gonna pray for ya’ll.

New sticker: I am trying to look like a science stud by displaying this Darwin fish, but if I ever get really sick or in jail, I’m sure I’ll switch my sticker to this one:

Trout often explains his religious philosophy to non-believers like this: “You might as well believe, because if you don’t, you’ll go straight to hell.”

Well, good for you. My guess is that you are a new mother or paranoid driver-father. New mother, there are babies on board in most cars at some point, so really we should all just drive carefully. Also, remember that some folks behind you may be driving home from an infertility clinic, adoption agency, or court room. Those folks would give anything in the world to have a baby on board.

New sticker: There is a demanding/misbehaving/aggravating person on board, so I may be serving dinner, slapping a switch all over the backseat, looking for a dropped toy, etc. You’ve been warned. Keep your distance.

I have taught boys and girls who’ve NEVER been on vacation. I wonder if they know what HHI, 30A, PCB, etc. mean. If so, how must those stickers affect them? Plus, from a distance at a certain speed, HHI looks kinda like HIV. Careful.

New sticker: You can go anywhere if you finish school, get a good job, and maintain your health. And maybe have some good luck. Good luck!

New sticker just for me: 34H

Look, I know, I am guilty. Please don’t honk at me when the light turns red because I am on the phone. I have to make personal phone calls on my way to and from work because I can’t make personal calls at work and my husband and children will not give me one freaking moment to talk to a friend, a doctor, an insurance agent, etc. once I get home.

But, wait. One of my cousins, who is an avid reader and intellectual, wouldn’t like my suggestion above. She said,I don't like ones that I can't read at a passing glance. It is a bumper sticker, not a book!

New sticker: On phone. Forgive? Can’t we all just COEXIST? Here’s my insurance card.

Just flipping through some history books here at school. Looks like that peace stuff is pretty much impossible.

New sticker: Let’s not shoot each other most of the time.

I found the perfect bumper sticker for Scone-Ad and Man of Measure!


Mean people do suck. They’d better watch out. See Theory 3: Be nice to everyone you meet, because you will meet again, especially if you weren't nice in the first place.

Do you? Is that why you are pulling out of the Twin Peak’s parking lot at 10:00 p.m. Let me guess, you brought wifey a doggie bag to show your affection. Oh, and you're weaving.

That shouldn't be difficult.

New stickers: Keep New York expensive. Keep Orlando hot. Keep Newport sketchy.


 ~ ~ ~

I despise scatological humor. It requires no thought. It seems that most of the time that little boy is actually tee-teeing on an Alabama logo.

Ironic? Nah.

Yorkie/Lab/Beagle/Horse/any critter really Lover?


Tall Child needs a sticker that says “Hater of one particular Yorkie.”

Well, I suppose this one could scare children. Sharky, Tall Child and I are addicted to “The Walking Dead” and “The Talking Dead” (I taught TTD Chris Hardwick’s nephew! Hardwick and I Tweeted each other!) I love zombies, but I doubt they're real. Then again, you should see forty 8th graders get off a school bus at 7:45 am. I heard the word Ebola on the radio. Grab the batteries, Pampered Chef pizza cutter, and Vienna sausages!

New bride? Preppy? Gag me with a dead Smurf.

I got more negative comments about this bumper sticker than any other. Hands down.
Again, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:12, KJV

Basically, these stickers (to me, anyway) are saying that couples are happily married. The husband is taller than the wife. He doesn’t cheat, he doesn’t go to Twin Peaks, he doesn’t throw you under the bus when in-laws make demands, he has a job, etc. He is so awesome that you represent his image with cute adhesive paper. Oh, and your children. Your children. They, too, decorate the window in descending height. Look, I teach junior high, so I know for a fact that your 13 year old son is shorter than your 11 year old daughter. At least your boys and girls are physically fit and artistic. They seem to all be holding flutes and balls. What a healthy, happy, normal family. Are you so calm and organized and kind on long road trips to Hot Orlando or Expensive New York? And, oh, your sweet little pets are part of the family, too. So cute! I bet your mother calls your Border Collie her “grand dog.” The cats and dogs sit side by side as the happy family takes Sunday drives. Everything is groovy. You COEXIST so well!

Seriously, I think these stickers are cornball express but sweet. I consider them a family’s attempt to represent what they are trying hard to be: normal, well-adjusted, loving, and close.

Life is a dynamic adventure with lots of variables. How much do these stickers cost?

What happens if there is a divorce?

An affair?

I think my family needs a sticker family bumper sticker!

~ ~ ~

The last bumper sticker Big Red wore was a blue oval boasting the name of Sharky’s elementary school. That was back in 2011 when I taught at a “rough” middle school. 

One day, while I desperately tried to teach pre-algebra to a bunch of non-interested 8th graders, my sticker disappeared. Along with my tail lights.

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Of all the commentary I provoked and received regarding this topic, my favorite response came from my sweet, sweet, fellow compassionate humorist, Flower Child. She wrote:


~ ~ ~

What do you think, readers? What are your bumper stickers loves and peeves? Find me, friend me, and comment here or on social media. 

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 
Facebook: Jody Cantrell Dyer
Twitter: @jodycdyer

See you next post. Until then, think outside the barn!

Also, visit or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website: