The pesky stickers

Posted: Nov 14, 2005 12:05 AM

I’m not here to write about any weighty issue of politics, the war on terror or tax reform.  I’m just here to help.  Buried deep in this column is a bit of advice that you would actually pay me for … so read on.  Suffer through a few paragraphs of my maniacal ranting and you’ll be the better off for it … at least, if you’re planning to buy a new car.

I’m not really sure when I first became subject to the constant intrusion of the Imperial Federal Government of the United States into my personal life.  Certainly, I was a little perplexed when I applied for my first Social Security card.  I was only 16, but someone offered me a job setting pins at the bowling alley at the El Toro Marine Air Station in California.  I had to apply for this symbol of government paternalism, or I couldn’t work, so it was off to Santa Ana to get the hideous little blue card.  I just couldn’t understand why it wasn’t my responsibility, instead of the government’s, to save my own money for my own retirement.  It was many years later that I realized Social Security was a vote-buying program for politicians, not a retirement income program for Americans.

When I was a little older, I decided to become agitated over a white line painted in the aisle of a bus at Walt Disney World.  There was the white line, and there was a sign above the driver saying, “Federal law prohibits the operation of this vehicle with any person standing in front of the white line.”  Oh, great.  Somewhere, in Washington DC, there’s a sad little bureaucrat sitting behind a steel desk in a drab light green office who has decided that every bus in the entire nation must have a white line painted across the aisle and every bus driver told that he can’t budge an inch if a stray foot crosses the line.  There’s no telling how many lives have been saved with this one.

OK … we’re getting closer to that advice you’ll be so thankful for.

Back to the nameless little bureaucrat and his white line.  He may well be retired now, but I suspect that before he slithered out of that office in whatever government agency he worked for, he scored one more hit.

Have you purchased a new car lately?  I did, just a week ago.  A present for my wife.  I have a thing about those dealer stickers they plaster on the trunks of automobiles, so the dealer made sure there wasn’t one.  I’ve never been able to figure out why people will spend tens of thousands of dollars for a new car and then allow the dealer to put their name on the trunk.  But it wasn’t an “Acme Autoworks” sticker that bothered me.  It was the visor stickers.  Both visors had a warning about air bags.  In the case of my wife’s new car, the sticker was in English and French.  Now, I know that “sac gonflable” is French for “air bag.”  I’m sure that will come in handy someday.  At any rate, the twin stickers are there to remind me that children can be killed or injured by air bags.  It also tells me that the best place for children is the back seat—though I have no young children, and the car doesn’t have a back seat.  So …  I read the warnings, and then tried to remove the stickers.

No way.  These stickers can’t be removed.  Federal law.

That’s right.  Our little bureaucrat friend has decided not only should we be reminded that air bags can kill and maim, but we need to be constantly reminded of this fact—every single time we get in our cars.  The law says that the stickers must be permanent.  What’s the problem here?  If we can take those tags off our mattresses, why not get these stickers off our cars?

Did I say permanent?  I have bad news for our bureaucrat friend.  These obnoxious stickers can be removed … and I’m here to tell the beleaguered new-car buyers how.

I take comfort in knowing that I’m not the only person out there irritated by these silly tags.  Every time you look up, there’s a reminder of just how intrusive our government has become.  We’ve been warned, so now let it go!  Why do those stickers have to last the life of the car?  Well, as I said, I wasn’t alone.  To my amazement, I found websites and chat rooms dedicated exclusively to the task of getting these stickers off your visors.

Here’s a brief look at the solution:  Go to your local hardware store and get a bottle of some agent that removes adhesives.  Goo Gone ®  and Goof Off ® would be two examples.  Dab the liquids on the stickers as you s-l-o-w-l-y peel them off.  When the sticker is removed, clean with soap and water to take care of any residue left behind.  I’m told it works on mouse fur visors also, though mine are vinyl.

Now, if we could just find something in the hardware store that would help us get rid of overbearing bureaucrats.