Q: One of my favorite bloggers recently wrote about how much she despises those "wag more, bark less" bumper stickers that she's been seeing everywhere lately. My sister brought me one of these when she visited last summer. As committed design junkie, I don't consider myself a bumper sticker person, but I have to say I love this one. My sticker is actually a magnet, and it would be on my car except that I'm afraid someone would steal it. I think the sentiment is a fun, gentle reminder to lighten up already people—we aren't going to get any cooler or richer any time soon, and no one else wants to hear your bitching. Plus I think it's extra funny when you see the sticker on a car with a dog face in the window. What do you think ? —Sir Wags-A-Lot
A: Dear Sir, the Dog Parkist is in completely agreement with you. The stickers and magnets you refer to are charmingly benign, and tasteful. (Illustration below.) Their sentiment is, as you point out, a metaphor more than a statement or command, and perhaps that is the problem. Most people expect bumper stickers to provide information about the driver ("My child is an honor student at XYZ Elementary School."), to tell them what to do ("Honk if you love Jesus."), or to make a misguided political statement ("W" or "Nader for President").
"Wag more bark less" expresses a simple wish for Zen-like calm that rarely resonates with drivers who are so intent on getting to Starbucks for caffeine they clearly do not need or dropping off their precocious children at a highly regarded institution of learning or navigating SUVs whose sales were encouraged by an administration populated by oil industry cronies that they cannot even fathom what life would be like if everyone were a little quieter and a little more content—in other words, if people were more like dogs.
The Dog Parkist did deign to read the blogger's entry and was all amazement that the writer whose ire was inflamed by a simple bumper sticker is a person who reveals too much intimate information about the position of her underwear and who reaches inexplicable ecstasy while gazing upon her own drooling, food-encrusted, foul-diapered offspring. Sir, need I remind you that people who collapse in fit of narcissism at the sight of their own children are hardly likely to be moved by the Zen of dogs? For some, the child-versus-dog debate is even more highly charged than that of cat-versus-dog. The Dog Parkist sees no grounds for debate, and she encourages all her readers to wag and vote more and to drive, complain, procreate, drink cheap beer, and shop at big box stores less. Much less. Thanks for writing!
Dear Readers: Please be sure to thank Sir Wags for providing such an insightful question next time you see him or her at Dog Park. And please do use the time you will save by not participating in useless, time-wasting activities, such as complaining, to send the Dog Parkist a query. Ta!