Exploring The Curious Phenomenon Of Paul Walker Tribute Decals

The other day, someone sent me a link to the above Paul Walker tribute decal (pasted on a Suburu SUV, no less) someone posted on Twitter. If you can’t read it, it says “If one day speed kills me do not cry. Because I was smiling.”

Now, aside from the fact that “he died doing what he loved” is that old cliché that we like to trot out whenever someone dies no matter how horribly, no one can seem to find a source for Paul Walker actually saying “If one day speed kills me do not cry. Because I was smiling.” As far as I can tell, it seems to be made up. A few places source it to “a 2001 interview,” and the IB Times attributes it to specifically to this MTV interview, where Paul Walker definitely never says anything about speed killing him.

It’s hard for me to picture Paul Walker saying anything about smiling at death (I could picture Vin Diesel saying it), but moreover, it seems to me that if he’d actually said that, the source would be link everywhere. Instead it’s linked nowhere. And if you were the outlet that did the interviewing, wouldn’t you be pimping it everywhere?

But hey, I’m not here to play Snopes. I just wanted to draw your attention to the curious trend of Paul Walker tribute bumper stickers and decals. Just two days before the above tweet, a Frotcast listener sent in this one, taken in Cambridge, Mass, according to the submitter:

I think the shocker hand really drives home the respect for the dead.

A little Googling reveals that the phenomenon is surprisingly widespread, with hundreds of different eBay auctions and many different designs to choose from.

Trust me when I say that there are a LOT more. Plus many more satisfied buyers on Flickr (here, here, here, here, here…). Consider also that this one has sold 1,153 copies:

It seems you don’t even need to have a car yet to want the bumper sticker.

Celebrating Paul Walker with a drawing of an outline of a car seems weird, but I guess no weirder than celebrating Jesus with a cross (all due respect to Bill Hicks). And I have to assume that Paul Walker’s family is making as much money off this widespread use of his name as Bill Watterson did on those Calvin Pissing decals (ie, nothing). Makes you wonder what’s going on in the decal industry. It’s the goddamn wild west out there.

Anyway, the entire phenomenon seems a little strange and morbid to me, but you know what they say, nothing like profiting off a celebrity’s death by selling to enthusiasts of the hobby that killed him.