Responding to editors’ requests for a regular sampling of current commentary from around the Catholic press, here is a column from the July 3 issue of The Catholic Exponent, newspaper of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio. It was written by Lou Jacquet, editor.

 

I pulled up behind a four-wheel-drive vehicle at a stoplight near our home the other day. Across the rear bumper, the driver had stenciled, in quite large red letters, “Driver Has No Money.”

At first, I thought it might be a pizza delivery vehicle, but when it turned left in front of me I could see that there was no pizza logo on the top or sides. Apparently, I had just come upon someone who 1) emphatically did not want to be robbed, and assumed that notifying would-be bandits possessed of literacy skills might help in that regard and 2) felt compelled to share his or her financial status with the world.

The more I thought about it, there were plenty of times when that particular “Driver Has No Money” message would have been appropriate across the back of my car, too. The years 1970-77 and 1989-91 come to mind, in particular.

We laugh about this now, but my wife and I were so broke on our first date when I was out of work more than two decades ago — believe me, this is no exaggeration — that all we could afford was iced tea at “Denny’s.” But it worked out well.

I’m pretty sure I dazzled Geri with my assertiveness in requesting three or four refills of that amber delight for each of us while the waitress mentally computed her tip. She probably figured there was little likelihood that these two folks seated before her would be helping in any significant way with her mortgage payment that month.

Speaking of signs across bumpers, that driver might be on to something. The back bumper of one’s car is a pretty effective place to carry a message; of course plenty of people plaster bumper stickers on every square inch back there to let the world know their opinion concerning a variety of subjects, political and otherwise.

I’m thinking of something a bit different. I really don’t feel the need to let the rest of the world know whom I favor in politics or sports or whatever. I’m against nuclear proliferation and war without exception, for example, but I have never felt compelled to advertise the fact on the back of my vehicle, although I respect others who do. Still, I wouldn’t mind letting folks know my thinking on a variety of other matters.

Here are a few signs across the back bumper that could work for me:

* Driver Has No Idea What Correct Names of Newly Merged Parishes In Diocese Really Are Without Checking Chart.

* Driver Besotted With Grandkids, Can’t Imagine Life Without Them.

* Driver Wishes Winter in Ohio Could Be Spent in Caribbean.

* Driver Convinced Barbara Eden Never Ages, Can’t Believe She’s 77.

* Driver Believes Almond Joy is Fourth Food Group.

* Driver Certain of Resemblance to George Clooney.

* Driver Headed to Support Meeting for Mocha Frappe Addicts.

* Driver Can’t Believe High School Years Were That Long Ago.

* Driver Headed to Walgreen’s, Can’t Remember Why.

* Driver Wishes 2000 Dodge Stratus Was 2013 Ferrari.

* Driver Wondering If He Left Stove, TV, Washer On.

* Driver Refuses to Use Facebook or Twitter.

* Driver Only American Never to Have Seen “American Idol.”

* Driver Weighing Options: Tacos? Burgers? Pizza?

* Driver Seeks Weight-Loss Plan Involving OK On Ice Cream.

* Driver Unsure: Wedding Anniversary Either May 8 or May 9.

* Driver Has No Money, Raised Six Stepkids.

 

Of course, it is possible to give out too much information:

* Driver Hasn’t Been to Confession for Too Long.

Maybe I’ll just leave that one off the back bumper for now.

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