There is a skull-shaped outline on the front of my motorcycle, a 4" x 4" discoloration where the plastic is greener than it should be, reminding me every time I walk up to the bike that I've got to come up with something to replace the sticker I peeled off of there when I got it.

It's a really prominent location, too, which is why it's so urgent that I get something on there - and why it's so difficult. Here are my options, as I see them, for what to do:

Nothing. I could leave it blank, with the distinct outline of what once was, hollowly staring out at the world and urging passersby to conclude: "Here, then, is a guy who didn't like a sticker of a skull wearing an army helmet, and was not afraid to tear that sucker off."

I could get a sticker of an American flag, and emblazon it right there, expressing patriotism, and freedom, and a certain amount of irony since it's a Japanese bike. A country, especially this one, is a sufficiently broad and complex concept to be immune to the changing whims of fashion. But I'm not sure if that's right either, because it's true that I'm opposed to several of our nation's policies, regarding foreign trade, social security and same-sex marriage. I am Proud To Be An American; I just don't know if I'm *that* proud.

Another KLR sticker, one to match the others affixed elsewhere on the bike. This would show decorating skill, and procurement ability, since it might be tricky to find such a decal in the appropriate size and color scheme to match the 2001 model's army green and silver paint. I suspect eBay would be my only hope. Still, this is a pretty boring option. I don't want to express competence - I want to show the world just who they're dealing with.

An absurd sticker, perhaps an adhesive version of a jpeg my friend recently sent me depicting Prince Charles sharing an umbrella with a giant Water Vole. That would be jaunty, I think, and not at all inconsistent with my personality. After all I *am* the kind of guy who would have Prince Charles and a giant water vole on the front of his motorcycle.

An arrow. That's always a safe bet, a deflection of interest - when everybody stares at you as if to say, "Well?" you just go, "Hey, look at that guy! Over there! Him!" It's a valid tactic. The only problem is I don't know if the arrow should point up or down, at the tire or the windshield. Which way is forward? Plus, it doesn't make any real statement of its own as far as I can tell.

I've also considered stickers promoting advrider.com, an "adventure touring" website I frequent, or one for Penelope Illustration, a cause I'm very much behind. That one would probably be too pretty for my bike, though. And I don't even contribute to advrider yet, so I'd kind of feel like a poser. Plus, this sticker's about ME, not the bike. I've decided that much, at minimum.

What else do I even like? The sticker on the front of your bike doesn't really indicate That Which You Like Most, even, it - like all stickers - shows That Which You Want People To Think You Like, and that's different. By their nature, stickers are stuck in prominent locations because they say something, something you want said to lots of people, and usually because you want them to know you said it. So: it's sort of like, in my mind at least, running out onto the field with a megaphone during a football game and saying "Hey, everybody! ____ !"

What goes in the blank? What do I want to say to everybody? I just don't know. How can I be 27 and just not know? Aren't there any groups, organizations or concepts with which I strongly associate my identity yet? Any with logos, I mean?

I welcome your submissions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you should just cut a hole right there in that spot until you figure it out. -penelope