Warning: if you plan to drive through Florida in the near future, leave your ornamental male bovine body parts at home.
As the headline the Rapid City Journal used for the AP article on April 27 phrased it, “Lawmakers seek to get vehicles fixed.” It seems some of the legislators for the great state of Florida want to make it illegal for truckers to dangle “metal replicas of bull testicles” from the backs of their semis. At the time the article was written, the measure had already passed the Florida Senate but was deemed to have only a slim chance of being approved by the House.
I didn’t realize this was an issue of such significant proportions. I vaguely remember seeing one of these manly decorations on a truck somewhere when I was traveling. I think. Despite what the truck driver may have thought of his trailing attributes, I didn’t find them all that memorable, let alone particularly offensive.
True, if I were traveling with some of my grandkids, I’d definitely prefer not to have to explain what those funny-looking things were on the back of that semi. But if we’re going to ban offensive truck decorations, how about getting rid of all those mud flaps with the silhouette of the naked woman on them? I’m sure you’ve seen her—that one with the figure so exaggerated she makes Barbie look like a woman of normal proportions.
Are both these traveling displays offensive? Sure. Are they tacky? Absolutely. Should they be banned by law? Absolutely not. It is neither reasonable, desirable, or necessary to pass laws against bad taste. Neither is it possible.
Of course, the idea does have a certain appeal. If tackiness were prohibited, just think of some of the things we could have been spared over the years: Lime green leisure suits. Fuzzy dice. Lawn ornaments of chubby women bent over to show their ruffled bloomers. Sex and the City. Oversized, calf-length shorts that make even skinny boys look clumsy. Low-cut, tight jeans that make even skinny girls look overstuffed. Any TV show with “Survivor” or “Idol” in its name. Mean-spirited greeting cards. Comedians who mistake vulgarity for humor. Facial piercings.
You get the idea; make your own list. And, of course, that’s the point. Your list would be far different from mine. One person’s poor taste is another person’s fashion statement or sense of humor.
So, to the Florida legislature: lighten up. If you don’t have anything better to do for the protection of the Sunshine State, you might as well adjourn early and go home to your day jobs.
To be fair, though, I’m sure this movement to rid Florida’s highways of innuendo didn’t necessarily originate with the legislature. Behind the scenes, I’m sure they’re being pressured by the most powerful public figure in the state. No doubt he would say he’s just worried about offending the delicate sensibilities of innocent tourists taking the kids to Disney World.
But the truth is, Mickey Mouse is just jealous. After all, the only exaggerated attributes he has to brag about are those big, round ears.