Welcome to a new brand of "sticker shock."
Time was, you could count on being stunned at, say, the price of that automobile on the dealer's lot. Or the expense to purchase a new front-loading clothes washer. And I think I speak for all of us when I say it's amazing how much it costs to bribe a member of the Utah Legislature or candidate for attorney general.
But the new sticker shock doesn't involve money at all -- at least not directly. The Standard-Examiner reported last week that voters in Weber County are upset about not receiving an "I Voted" sticker when they cast ballots by mail.
Weber County Elections Director Jennifer Morrell told Standard-Examiner correspondent Deanne Winterton, "People like letting others know they voted, even if it is 28 days before the election." This surprised her, she said, since "it doesn't seem like the most important part of voting."
I've been known to sport my "I Voted" sticker all day -- or as long as it clings to my shirt. Generally speaking, however, I'm with Morrell: The voting's important, not the sticker advertising the civic engagement.
Then again, the stickers probably do remind forgetful voters that they need to cast their ballots. A friend of mine lost a Layton City Council election in the 1990s by two or three votes in a year when I didn't visit the polls; while the margin was more than a single vote, that memory has always haunted me. Had he been elected, Layton might have become a decent place to live.
I must say, too, that I'm surprised at the lengths to which Morrell will go to satisfy the "I Voted" sticker fans. She's inquired as to the cost of including them in mailed ballots, and wants those who vote by mail to know -- and this is genuinely hilarious -- they can "bring their ballots with them to a polling location on Election Day and request a sticker."
Maybe no one will do this, but I love the thought that people might avail themselves of mail-in voting's convenience, only to succumb to the burning desire for an "I Voted" sticker and visit their polling place after all.
It makes you wonder what other activities might develop sticker cults if gummy pieces of printed paper were offered to commemorate and/or publicize participation in ... whatever.
I paid attention during staff meeting.
I came close to obeying the speed limit.
I brushed my teeth.
I ate vegan for lunch.
OK, it's just not the same.
Much better --or at least more entertaining for the rest of us -- would be to announce your antisocial behavior. For example:
I ate someone else's lunch from the fridge at work.
I drive distracted.
I served 20 years for murder. It was worth it.
I'm a prowler.
Too much information? I can tell you this, though: For certain, those last two would guarantee empty seats around you on public transit, and people would give you a wide berth at the store, too.
Actually, what I would like to see are stickers listing who or what people voted for.
I Voted Democratic.
I Voted Republican.
I Voted For a Warmonger.
I Voted For Reduced School Funding.
I Voted Straight Party Because I Don't Think for Myself.
I Voted for the Dumb One.
I Wrote In "None of the Above."
I Voted While Holding My Nose.
It's a fantasy, I know. But it would be fun at least once.
If the good citizens of Weber County want "I Voted" stickers, I hope they get them. Wear them proudly, friends.
Email Don Porter at email@example.com.