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Wearing it proudly 

After the sweat pit that was The Pixies' Raleigh engagement last Sunday night, I finally made it to bed around 5 a.m. That allowed me three hours of sleep--just enough time to rest my eyes before waking up and hustling down I-40 into the Durham office. As you can expect, work was a bit grueling on that pittance of rest, so I decided to cut back to Raleigh around 4 p.m.

Feeling a little groggy, I absentmindedly forwent the blinker on my turn off of Hillsborough Road onto Ninth Street.

"Beeeeeeep, beep, beep!" the car in the adjacent straight lane rang in old-jalopy onomatopoeia, doubly grating for my tired head. I turned, expecting to wave and mouth "I'm sorry" to the traveler I had offended. No such luck.

Before I could move my hand from the wheel, I was greeted by the sight of a 40-plus fellow, leaning from his perch in the driver's seat across the passenger seat and through the passenger window (really, I swear), screaming in this busted, bold, wholly appropriate drawl: "Four more years!" Amazingly, while driving through a busy intersection and looking out of his window, he had also somehow managed to maneuver four fingers my way.

As my brain reeled, it took a microsecond to figure out what was happening. Then I knew: Those stickers. Since September, three separate imprecations of W have graced my back bumper and I've been too stubborn, proud and/or lazy to remove them. Two are endorsements of the failed Kerry/Edwards campaign, while another is one of those Move-On "Defend America/Defeat Bush" deals.

When I realized the source of the bespectacled fellow's ire--he of the busted-ass, mid-'80s sedan with a paint job just a bit younger than myself--I could only offer my favorite expression, the kind you would give your friend if, suddenly, out of the deep-blue nowhere, he admitted that he'd been fornicating with a special goat for about a year.

At that moment, I decided that those stickers will never leave my bumper. As long as I roll around Raleigh in a black F-150, those stickers are mine. I'll wear them like racing stripes, battle scratches, war scars. (Ironically, those are three things our current president--this guy's champion--never earned.)

My next stop was a BP station. I guess I felt the need to support our troops, to gas up. Or maybe I just needed to get back home and take a nap.

Yeah, the terrorists hate our freedom. And we're all with stupid, aren't we?

P.S. Mr. Honker Man: I'm sorry about calling your car an old jalopy. But for that reason, you may want to reconsider your political choices. Just fair warning, dude.

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