Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"Don't Mess with Texas" stickers not allowed for some folks in Germany

You were unaware that there might be Don't Mess with Texas bumper stickers on cars in Germany?
You were equally unaware that the stickers might not be allowed on some cars in Germany?

This post is for you, then.

A leisurely drive through the German countryside. We are coming up to a T intersection with a stop sign. So, we stop and look. A sign pointing to the right says German Town A, a sign pointing to the left says German Town B (or Haenselville and Greteltown). A sign underneath says "Ammo Gate 2".

Oh, "Ammo Gate 2", hey, that brings back memories. Driving towards Greteltown, oncoming traffic is much more interesting than before.
We are expecting American cars, like the '72 Cadillac, or a Dodge Dart, or the Chevy the neighbor used to start each morning with a hammer. You don't how how to start a car with a hammer?
Open the hood, whack the starter with a hammer, get in, turn the key. Repeat as necessary.

There seem to be more pickups and SUVs on the road towards Greteltown, but we might be dead wrong, victims of the expectation triggered by Ammo Gate 2.

None of the cars have American license plates.

That's weird. Cars don't look that different any more, but what's with the plates?

But our daily routine regains a firm hold, and the riddle of the missing license plates fades. It re-surfaces in a different context in a different location, when a car makes a surprise hard turn and the burly passenger displays his US military credentials: a haircut like no other.

Our trusty internet confirms that the old American style plates on POVs (privately owned vehicles) in the K-Land were replaced by regular German plates.

For security reasons, explain the various web sites. Security did not stop at the license plates, though, anecdotes have it. US military personnel and family members were also told to lay off on bumper stickers, specifically the two perennial favorites among GIs: the Confederate flag and Don't Mess with Texas.

Sure, the Confederate flag is obvious, but Don't Mess with Texas? What's wrong with that?

The switch to German plates and the incognito-ization of vehicles still allow German drivers near US bases to recognize US personnel.

How? Recent arrivals from the States tend to spend a lot of their first few months on German freeways in the right lane, sweating, swearing, and looking very worried. Mind you, the locals are friendly, but their driving can be qualified as terrifying.

The hilarious consequence of discouraging Confederate flags, Don't Mess with Texas, Don't tread on me, and other many bumper stickers, though, is this.

If you see any Confederate flags, Don't Mess with Texas, Don't tread on me bumper stickers on a German car these days, you can be certain the driver is German.

A young, or a previously young, German dreaming of America.

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