Jeep with Ron Paul and Apple Bumper stickersThis weekend my mind got blown a tiny bit by this unexpected combination of bumper stickers. Naturally, I facebooked the photo, and my friend Steve challenged me to fit this phenomenon into a 2×2.

But as with any 2×2, the structure of the table should be determined by what it’s helping you understand…so in this case, I had to think carefully about the circumstances in which it might be useful to quickly size someone up by their bumper stickers. The obvious scenario is one in which you’ve just rear-ended them, probably because you were trying to read (or Facebook) said stickers.

In that scenario, here’s what I would recommend as your opening line, based on the particular combination of stickers on the vehicle you have just dented:

Religious affiliation
Political affiliation

“Would you find this conversation easier if I offered you my vaporizer first?” “Sorry, it’s the first time I’ve driven since I got back from the Peace Corps.”
“I get so angry when I hear another story about how they’re persecuting Ed Snowden, I wasn’t thinking straight.” “Thank the Lord we live in a free country where we don’t have to involve the government in this sort of situation.”

May I suggest printing out this table and taping it to your dashboard so you’ll have it handy the next time you’re in a collision. And hey, if anybody knows the (likely Seattle-based) yellow jeep that was sporting the Apple/Ron Paul combo: if you can provide proof that you’ve identified the person behind my inspiration, I will affix the bumper sticker of your choice to my car’s bumper for no less than 30 days.