The other day I’m driving behind this truck and notice its lone bumper sticker that read, “I may be old, but at least I still have my hands.” Confused as an autumnal Chinese philosopher, I repeat the declaration out loud several times, even turning off my music so I can devote my full attention to its analysis. Still, I remain at a loss for its meaning, although I do have an unlikely explanation that is the closest I will come without outside help.
This decalcomania must contain a custom-made, personalized and utterly specific retort against a young, handless person who once quipped – hilariously and publicly I’m sure, enough to embarrass the sticker’s writer to no end – about the car owner’s age. Something along the lines of, “Hey old man, you may die ere the sun lit the ant!” His handful of handful friends would have laughed, although maybe only out of politeness, since the attempted insult turned out to be nothing more than several tiny words strung together in a grammatically acceptable sentence. But the elderly guy, who as we now know is mostly deaf, assumed based on the laughter that he was the butt of everyone’s joke, so he drove his truck straight to the local print shop and got the bumping sticker made in case his bully ever ended up behind him in a traffic jam. Normally, the handless handles his business with genuine class, but no one could deny his line was out of touch and needlessly rude.
Now there aren’t a ton of cool people without hands floating around, like yer man here. But I once wrote this song Handless Musician, so it’s entirely possible my fictional eponymous character is the person who quipped said quip. If so, I sincerely apologize that one of my creations could be so rude, and yet I’m conflicted, as is my musician, because his emotional negligence prompted a sincere piece of art in the form of this bumper sticker. Negativity, as it has many times before, begat art, and who among us wishes to put a stop to that?