Tuesday, September 14, 2010

They’re everywhere

memory of02

I don’t know if this is a regional thing or if it’s gaining in popularity everywhere, but I’ve only see the proliferation of “in loving memory” stickers here in Arkansas.

Driving around over the weekend, I must have seen a dozen of these things stuck on the back windows of cars, pickups and SUVs. The one in the photo above is among the largest I’ve seen, plastered right in the middle of the rear window of a Toyota. This one commemorated the life of a boy who died at the age of 16 or 17, depending on whether he’d had his birthday before he died in 1999.

The deceased are almost always boys or young men in their late teens or early 20s – the period when testosterone intoxication it most intense and kids feel like they’re invincible. These are the ones who got vinced.

On one hand, it would be easy to make fun of these stickers as a yahoo cultural artifact – note the Confederate flag and misused apostrophe in the photo – but they also represent real grief and loss. Who’s to say I wouldn’t stick something like that on the back window of my car if one of my kids died? I hope I never have to find out.

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