Seriously, What the Hell

Over on Facebook, friends of mine from high school are taking pictures of this bumper sticker, which they allege to be finding out there in the world. The quote comes from something I said on the Alien Encounters TV show, about how even if we find out that aliens exist, we’re sooner or later going to have to get back to our lives, up to and including taking out the trash. So far four or five of them have posted the bumper sticker.

I have to say I’m suspicious about this. The quote is kind of random, I’m not anywhere near famous enough to warrant a bumper sticker, and this is exactly the sort of brain-messery that friends of mine would engage in; specifically, this is the sort of thing my friend Norm Carnick would likely mastermind, because apparently he’s got a lot of free time. The telling detail for me is that as far as I can recall it’s only high school friends and acquaintances that have reported seeing the thing.

All of which is to say I AM ON TO YOU MY HIGH SCHOOL SO-CALLED FRIENDS AND I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE BWA HA HA HA HAH HA unless of course these bumper stickers really do exist non-affiliated to my high school chums, in which case, seriously, what the Hell. I’m definitely not getting a percentage of the profits. I find the picture amusing, however.

Edit, 7:32am: The plot thickens. On eBay!

59 Comments on “Seriously, What the Hell”

  1. I’ve been seeing them all over since the beginning of the year. There’s a “Leaf” that has one that I usually see on the way to work.

  2. There’s a big clue in the photo you ran: see that hand print to the left? Someone just applied that bumper sticker and took a pic just to send to you.

    Which means to me that the bumper sticker DOES exist – probably in limited distribution amongst your HS friends who have AVERY bumper sticker sticker sheets for their laser printers.

    Tell your friends I want one – but they shouldn’t charge anything because I can make it up for free myself.

    John – you are a public figure, right? (LOL)

  3. So, you’re on TWO bumper stickers. I suspect that counts as genuine fame in our culture. I mean, you’re on *cars* dude. ;-)

  4. From the eBay page:

    Paul might be dead, but Scalzi’s quotes live forever

    Who is Paul? And does Scalzi have an alibi?

  5. I read this thread right after the previous one, so now I feel as if the actual, real-world Mallet of Loving Correction should be inscribed with the phrase, “…and I still need to take out the trash.”

  6. I thought that was your catch phrase from “John Scalzi – Two-Fisted Tales of Whatever”

  7. @Lint, Good one. I like “Your Hate Mail Will be Deleted” even better.

  8. I agree that the quote is kind of random, but I think you underestimate your own fame. You’re plenty famous enough to warrant at least a bumper sticker, esp. given how cheap bumper stickers are to make these days (on the other hand, 7 bids and the current bid is only sixty-three cents? WTF!?). Of course, I don’t know your HS chums, so I can’t judge their brain-messery proclivities. ;-)

  9. Look, if this bumper sticker wasn’t all over a whole bunch of cars before, it will be now. You’ve created the problem you were trying to say doesn’t exist. I’m sure there’s some sort of meta sci-fi way to interpret that?

  10. I thought that looked like you. I didn’t get close enough to make out the words, but I saw one yesterday on I-35 here in Austin. Of course, this town is full of weirdos, so it’s probably a friend of one of your friends trying to mess with your head.

  11. The e-bay bid is now up to $1.25.

    The unaddressed question , though, is: is there a better John Scalzi quotation to put on a bumper sticker?

  12. crotchetyoldfan, you beat me to it. That is a very very clean bumper sticker on a not very clean car, so whatever (heh) its provenance, the bumper sticker was spanky new when the photo was taken.

    Do all your high school friends and acquaintances live in New York, John? Or are they claiming to see this BS (bumper sticker) in other states on other cars? Even that would be easy enough to do, as crotchetyoldfan suggested, so further photo proof wouldn’t necessarily help. And now that you’ve revealed it to the world, anyone who reads the blog could gin one up, slap it on a car, and post evidence that they saw it in Dubuque or Miami or wherever.

    Given the data so far, I’m leaning toward prank as the genesis.

  13. @nobodobodon: I also live in Austin and haven’t seen one yet, but I’ll definitely be on the lookout. (And I have a space where such a bumper sticker could go — conveniently, on my bumper — should anyone care to point me to a vendor of same.)

  14. James – I’d vote for “Your hate may will be deleted” although “I AM ON TO YOU MY HIGH SCHOOL SO-CALLED FRIENDS” warms my coal black heart

  15. Nicholas Condon: YES! Hmm … John’s coming to Cambridge as part of the Redshirts book tour.

    John, I’m asking this for no particular reason :) … do you own an actual, physical Mallet of Loving Correction?

  16. Which of your friends would overlook the detail that there should be an ellipse between the quote marks and the word “and?” Other than that, a fine bumper sticker I’d love to have, and I haven’t even read any of your books. (Yet.)

  17. Then as you get your revenge, as you haul them out of the room to whatever fate awaits them, you can yell “Time to take out the trash!”

  18. Just saw one (on a Nissan, not a Subaru) in Headingley, Yorkshire – how the hell did it get over here?

  19. Yes, why wasn’t the picture of JS accompanied by a simulated strip of bacon with “BACON CAR” printed upon it? Or perhaps “No, you idiots, I said I would tape bacon on the CAT!”

  20. I was all set to bid on the eBay auction and then show up Saturday at the Nebula event and embarrass you with it by showing it to Connie Willis, Haldeman, et. al. ask you to sign it, but the seller cannot ensure delivery by then. Shucks. I was prepared to drop an egregious amount of money on that auction.

  21. Yes, I know the bacon cat thing is old and tired and not the thing John would like to be (or should be) remembered for best, but it is a meme for the ages, forever in his name.

    I frankly prefer the Scalzi who writes such thoughtful pieces as the SWM one of yesterday–and then follows it up with the deletions post today. Luckily, I don’t have to choose among the facets of Scalzi. I can get them all right here.

  22. Warren Terra said, “Who is Paul? And does Scalzi have an alibi?”

    Paul was dead long before John Scalzi was around.

  23. $31 as of this morning & my grad students are circulating your post on white male privilege as a teaching tool. Do these phenomena indicate that you’re at a tipping point?

  24. I hear they’re doing a brisk trade with the image in tattoo parlors in West Palm Beach. But nobody has seen them displayed in public. Go figure…

  25. @Lint, Good one. I like “Your Hate Mail Will be Deleted” even better.

    Hmm, Your Hate Mail Will be Graded is a great pithy statement, but I’m not sure what it means to put it on a car. I don’t really get hate mail.

    Perhaps “Your road rage will be judged for style & originality” might make a good sticker, but it wouldn’t be a Scalzi quote anymore.

  26. I hate to tell you this, John, but I saw one in Tacoma. Parked in front of a medical marijuana dispensary. Do you have any HS buddies in the Pacific Northwest with glacoma?

  27. Well, you hit Memeorandum today, which is how I got here. Provacative posts will do that! Congrats.

    I just stopped by becuase I am “Whatever Works” so feel compelled to congratulate on your blog name.

  28. Which is why I quit facebook some odd 5 years ago. I don’t have anything in common with the folks I hanged out with then….and I really don’t want to reconnect. I mean I did like them, probably would still some of them, but that was then and this is now.

    But then again, I’m not famousish, either ;), so now they can’t track me down no how.

  29. Now THAT’S what I call White Male Privilege. I wonder which is worse, taking it out on a nightly basis or taking it to the curb on a weekly. Which I got to do this morning ……

  30. President John Scalzi will be a contestant next season on ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ I read it somewhere, though there may have been some confusion with a Spider Robinson book.

  31. Haha this is rather humorous! Came across your site via a link to the “straight white male” post, on which I will hold my (constructive) opinion since you closed comments on that thread! Funny stuff, particularly in the comments section.

    I think it’s referring to Paul McCartney (whose status as living or dead is still debated by some strange folks out there).

  32. “OMG it’s up to $26!! somone is going to be rich… hehehehe”

    The question we must ask ourselves is: “Does Scalzi have an eBay account and has he been bidding up the price?”

  33. Up to $40 now,and the ‘questions for the seller’ are starting to look like a ‘Whatever’ comment string…

  34. For the benefit of friends of Scalzi (as well as his loyal fans…who probably like John more than his friends do) here is a summary of the bumper sticker (and why I hope you don’t bid on it on eBay):

    I’ve known John a long time (1984?). Honestly think he is one of the few people I know who always brings joy to any gathering and feel lucky to know him.

    The bumper sticker idea came out of watching a show on the Science Channel ( I was expecting to see John. Waited 20 minutes through it (not that the show was bad…so I shouldn’t complain) for John to show up. Then finally my buddy is on TV with a quote that went something like “The Universe has fundamentally changed, and I still need to take out the trash.” Then John disappears. He shows up later in part 1 and does a great job. Really, I think his personality (I know, I sound like the Japanese actress on the original Iron Chef) comes through. If you don’t know him, he defines amiable and has an energy that likely will demand he gets stuck doing more of these things. In any event, picture me giggling at home in front of a TV thinking “Did John just suck me into watching this show when he is only on for one quote?” Sure I assumed we would see more of him but in the next few minutes of the show I kept thinking “what if that’s it?”

    I decided to turn it into a bumper magnet and pretend it was going viral. I wanted to get this done before April Fools Day (or at least before John’s Birthday) but the magnets took longer than hoped to get done. John’s friends were extremely helpful. For example, this launched with Cat Rambo (someone I’ve never met) and she was delightful to work with.

    The first 3 who helped got magnets. My final magnet I kept to take more photos and post on eBay (through another friend). (btw…that is not my handprint on the car…but I did have to remove my reflection from from the shot…still, good guess above on it being a magnet, really existing, and being moved from car to car).

    I’m truly happy John didn’t sue anyone over this (yet).

    With respect to the eBay listing…wtf? The intention was to post it, have friends ask the seller (again, not me) weird questions. In the end I would buy it off of the seller for far more than it was worth (decided $15 was my cap) and we could point John to eBay as a source of the stickers. However, John figured out it I was behind this before the listing ended. I called him up and ratted myself out via his voicemail. We chatted latter and I thought that was the end of this thing. Nope. The listing is now over $60 with 3+ hours left. I’m honestly not happy with this as I think people are paying too much for this. However, I’ll do what I can to document for the winner that this is one of 4 stickers made, what they were made for, and how this one was likely the one used for most of the photos. If that means something for a fan, great. For others though…this is just a really cheap bumper magnet…don’t bid on it. Again, I’ll do all I can to document it well and ship it to you immediately but this is a remarkably bad purchase as I see it.

    If curious, I make nothing off of the sale of this magnet. To get my friend to list it I promised I would ship it immediately, pay for the shipping, and he could keep the eBay sales for helping me out. I’m not positive what John Scalzi thinks of the practical joke (hopefully he found it benign and moderately funny) but my friend from our fantasy football league is loving this.

    btw…facebook ipo joke above is funny.

  35. Also, I do want to be 100% clear…John Scalzi had nothing to do with the joke. Not that any had claimed this (other than me in bs facebook responses) but the magnet is not some form of marketing for Scalzi, any new books, or his new fragrance (“bacon et chat” designed by the great and remarkably stunning Yosh Han –

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