Vinyl record has a whole new meaning

Vinyl widow stickies: a sign of decaying taste or celebration? 

Fellow motorists, our cherished sensibilities are being assaulted on all sides by the greatest curse to assault the highways and byways of the United States of America: the in memoriam window sticky. This vinyl travesty that clutters the back windows of motor cars baring the name of a lost loved one attacks the very aesthetic reasoning of all partaking on our tax paid roadways. 

Okay, maybe I’m going a bit too far, but you have noticed them, right? They’re everywhere. You yourself may in fact own one and it may be sitting there, lurking on the back of your silver Mazda right now. 

I’ve always thought them a bit odd on the rare occasion I saw them but then they started to become very popular. I’ve always thought them to be vaguely insulting, at least in poor taste, and there are many reasons why. 

First, within our culture we have a very standoffish stance on death. We dislike discussing it so much we don’t even say a person died, but rather they passed away or we lost them. To so blatantly interrupt me on my morning commute by throwing the names of the deceased at me at every red light seemed a bit unfair. 

Most importantly though it goes against everything I learned about tomb stones and monuments. There’s a reason we engrave the names of the departed in stone or metal plates, they last for a very long time. “Look on my works, ye Mighty,” says the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in Ozymandias. Ozymandias did not emblaze his name on the back window of a 2013 Dodge Dart. 

It seems a bit improper to immortalize the dead in vinyl in the back window of a car. Cars get sold, get in wrecks, and glass is kind of known for breaking. According to people on average had 13 cars in their lifetime, so if you’re going to change cars that often why immortalize a lost loved one there? 

Well, now it’s time for me to eat some crow. That website also says that those were pre-recession numbers. Now people replace their cars an average of nine times in their lives. The frequency of which I started seeing these window stickies coincided with the recession. 

Since the recession, people have been struggling to buy houses. Other things like funeral arrangements and memorials aren’t cheap. The pride of owning something as long lasting as a home has escaped my generation. For most of us the idea of owning your own car is about the farthest reachable goal right now and that limit makes a car far more permanent to us. 

So go ahead, cover your windows with your memories. I’ll try to be less critical. I still think they’re kind of tacky, but they aren’t the end of the world.