Thursday, September 03, 2009


Whoever first said that sarcasm is the lowest form of humour was obviously unfamiliar with the bumper sticker. Possibly this was because they lived in the era before the requisite bumpers had been invented: there is, after all, no space on an stagecoach for little signs saying "Syphillitic on board" or "I brake for peasants" or "If you can read this then you are the world's cleverest horse".

Bumper stickers are rarely witty and frequently sub-literate, but they do have their own rules of humour. Take the old trope, "(Members of a profession) do it with (a dim-witted double entendre based on an aspect of that profession)". For example, "Fishermen do it with their rods" or "Bakers do it first thing in the morning" or "Cricketers do it while bowling a maiden over".

I mention this because on my way to work this morning I spent some time driving behind a ute with the following bumpersticker on it: "Plumbers do it with fewer emissions".

What. The. Hell?

Firstly, I wasn't aware that one of the defining characteristics of the plumbing profession was producing fewer than average emissions. In fact when I hire a plumber I don't expect him to make emissions of any kind. If he does choose to make some, I'd expect him to do them on his own time and somewhere a decent distance from my property.

Secondly, given that plumbers aren't noted for their emissions, regardless of type or quantity, how is this a double entendre? Indeed, how is it even a single entendre? The only logical sexual connotation that one could take from this is that plumbers ejaculate less than the average man. It's basically a sticker for a tradesman to put on his ute to tell that world that, as a rule, "PLUMBERS SUFFER FROM SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION!"

I mean congratulations on taking ownership of your problems, but is this really what you want to share with the world at large?

There are two explanations for this bumpersticker. One is that it is some kind of obscure meta-joke, a step or two removed from pure dadaist humour like "Accountants do it with ocelots" or "My other car is a palindrome". The other is that some people are so dumb that they don't even understand bumper sticker gags, but are conditioned to assume that anything printed on a sticky label and stuck to a vehicle must be funny. They're probably sitting in their cars right now, behind a truck, chortling away at "Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle".


Blogger 2BarRiff said...

The one I don't get is "Unless you're a hemorrhoid, get off my ass!"

It seems to infer that the only thing that belongs on the driver's bottom is, in fact, a hemorrhoid.

So, while the rest of the population of the planet attempts to avoid such maladies, the driver invites them.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Further proof that all bumper stickers are written by unfunny old men. Who else would think about asses and have the first thing they come up with be "hemorrhoids"?

4:40 PM  

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