Why did we as a society decide to start putting a visual scorecard of our lives on the back windows of our vehicles?
In the past there were bumper stickers, and those were entertaining, enlightening, annoying, artistic. My first few cars had the obligatory Deadhead stickers, all the roses and skulls and wooden wheels you could ever want, prettying up the back of my K-car. (It was a K-Car. I don’t just call all my cars “K-Cars” like a self-absorbed twickfairie.)
Now there’s just….this. “Hi! We’re as normal as possible! Tall Stick Figure, Shorter stick figure with squiggly hair lines, even shorter stick figures!”
My husband and I were mulling this phenomenon over while driving through the parking lot of a discount store. We were wondering what the point of it actually is. Do strangers behind you need to conduct a census? Is it a warning to avoid you while you inevitably drive distractedly, yelling at Cody and Canada to stop fighting over the iPad while you text your BFF about being late to soccer practice?
Maybe it’s a form of Zen. Instead of the old-school “My Child is an honor student at Kennedy Elementary” it is simply “my child is.”
I have never once been tempted to put a stick family on any of my vehicles because I really don’t care what the person next to me on Old Hickory Blvd. thinks about my family group. Also, there are no stick figures for Imaginary Friends.
I’ve wondered if there is a sticker with Calvin peeing on a stick figure family. There probably is. You used to be able to get Calvin peeing on anything, but then the people came along with Calvin praying at the Cross and that kinda took the zing out of all the Calvin Peeing stickers. If you got one you sorta looked like the one jerk who still thought Calvin was a bad boy even after he was bumper-sticker-saved.
Someone once sent me a Childfree version of a Stick Family. It was a man and a woman but beside them in place of the two offspring stick-figures were bags of money. I guess it was SUPPOSED to be funny–since childfree couples often have more disposable income–but it sorta struck me as “not funny”. We childfree take a lot of guff for being self-centered, selfish, etc. Of course every time someone accuses me of not having children because I’m selfish I think that says a whole lot more about them and their parenting experience than it does about me. Actually, the only people who have ever (to my face) accused me of being selfish for not having gotten what I wanted (irony much?) had stick figures on their minivan.
I think the real reason the Stick Families bother me is because it feels wrapped up in the Idolisation Of Children thing that we’ve had going on for the last 25 years or so. Children are the Shizzy, you know. They are awesome and cool and it’s awesome to have one! Here is my notched belt, letting you know how many Special Snowflakes I’ve got.
Children are people. They’ll be adults before you realise it. Maybe it’s just nice to keep the shorter stick figures on your car so that in your mind at least they’ll always be littler than you, always be right beside you.