Monday, March 10, 2014

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign: This isn't about you

I don't put stickers on my car. I've simply never been able to do it -- just putting a city sticker in the window or a state tax sticker on a license plate seems like vandalism, which I realize is an overblown sense of the action. But still. Hard to do. This girl hasn't done it yet. 

But there was this one thing that almost got me to do it:  

I love when I'm driving along really early on a Saturday or Sunday morning headed to a race and I see these stickers. It's how I know I'm headed in the right direction even though it's early and I'm in a fog. I like being in a parking lot and thinking, "Oh, there's a runner in the building." 

But mostly it's because I walked 26.2 miles one year and I'm still proud of all the effort that got me across the finish line. It took months of hard work and of saying no to people I would rather have said yes to.

But then this happened in an article in the Wall Street Journal in which the author states, "There is only one reason running aficionados display the stickers. They want the rest of us to know about their long-distance feats. So let me be the first to offer my hearty congratulations. I'd even offer to give them a pat on the back—once they're done doing it themselves." 

Boy, does he ever have it wrong. Sure, there are shallow people everywhere, but this comment made me think the author of the Wall Street Journal article may be the most shallow of us all. 

Here's a news flash: This isn't about you.

I don't know you and I would be alarmed and most likely offended if you offered me congratulations of any kind on my personal accomplishment. I did it for myself, not for you. It's a claim on something, a way of being part of a group of people who may or may not have otherwise talked to me in a parking lot, it's a shot at being befriended at a group run in a new city, it's a lot of possible things, but if it were on my car, it darn sure wouldn't be about you

There's plenty to be said on the topic and boy howdy did it get said. People swamped the WSJ's Facebook page and left 877 comments on the WSJ article online. There were shares and comments everywhere. This article left most readers in serious doubt as to the self-confidence and self-esteem of the person who wrote it. 

Why do you care? Why do you get so upset? 

I've seen many people make derisive comments about this, as well: 

and I can't help but wonder why. If you take pleasure in your family and pets, why does it matter to anyone that you share that in a whimsical way? It's their car, not yours. 

If your son has become an Eagle Scout and you want to say so, let it rip! No boy becomes an Eagle Scout without a supportive family, so why not mention it? Your kid made the honor roll? Well, that's a bit temporary for a sticker on a car, but people do it. Well, gosh, I wish I could get Aaron hooked on the feeling of seeing his name on the honor roll and if I had to put a sticker on my car to prove that his grades are a priority to me, I would (put it in the dash or on my desk or on the refrigerator) post it for others to see. 

But I still can't get into putting something on my car. 


Montanagirl said...

We don't put stickers on our vehicles either - not even bumper stickers.

Rose said...

We don't put stickers on our cars either as a general rule...the guy that wrote that article is just flat out jealous. Why does it bother him enough to write about it if it isn't that. He wants to detract from the accomplishment of running either.

Rambling Woods said...

I have 2 window clings for birding and one about MS... Why... I don't know....good post

Adam said...

I don't like to draw attention. I'd rather have my car blend in with the crowd. So no stickers for me either.