Your Family (Window Stick Figure Sticker Version)

Katelin has been working at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering all summer, so she and I have been car-pooling to and from work each day. This has provided some nice Father-Daughter bonding time, generally based around our most deeply-shared interests: music, sarcasm, and an interest in the signs, symbols, codes, values and customs of the other human beings who cross our paths on a regular basis. (This is why she’s majoring in anthropology).

One of the things we’ve been noticing and appreciating during our time moving slowly up and down the Northway is the profusion of those little stick figure stickers that people put on the rear windows of their cars to tell you about their families: how many kids there are, how many mommies and daddies, how many cats, how many dogs, how many of them play soccer, etc. It seems an odd custom to us both, though I suppose we can understand the general appeal of telling every stranger who happens to be tailgating you about your household, just in case they want to curse you and your kith and kin for your bad driving habits.

We have noted, too, that sometimes people may not really think about the way that these stickers present their owners’ families to strangers. Tonight, for instance, we followed the car of a family that had one mommy, one daddy, and two children . . . stacked vertically to the right side of the rear window with one child at top, then the parents beneath them, then a smaller child below the parents. While they probably put the stickers on that way to ensure maximum visibility out of their rear window, the message their sticker family communicated to us was: “In our family, everybody stomps on the baby! Because we love the baby less than we love our great older child, who we uplift above us, holding him closer to Heaven, where he belongs! Unlike the Evil Baby Child, upon whom we all stomp! Stomp stomp stomp!”

So that got us thinking about how these sorts of stickers could be used in more complicated family situations, and what sticker options we might want to manufacture to help people deal with the complexities that life throws at families in transition, one way or the other.

For instance: we all know that pets are more ephemeral than humans, and that lots of folks who have little kitties and puppies depicted on their rear windows are going to be without said non-human companions sooner rather than later. But, gosh, it sure would seem mean and cruel to have to peel Fluffy’s or Tralfaz’s or Glicky’s sticker off the back of the car when they go the Great Kennel in the Sky, so we’re thinking a better approach is for us to create a red “X” sticker that families can put over their feline and canine friends when they’re no longer crapping on this mortal coil.

We miss you, ex-Glicky in Heaven! But you are still part of our family! With a red “X” over your sticker! Yay!

And what about a bitter divorce scenario? Do you scrape a Mommy or a Daddy sticker off the Family Truckster when it no longer carries both parents on a regular basis? We’re thinking that we could create a green dollar-sign sticker that can be laid over the absentee parent, but if and only if they’re continuing to provide child support payments. If they’re deadbeats, though, then they can get the red “X” that the ex-pets get.

What about more complicated and subtle dynamics within intact families? In multi-child families, there may be kids who lead, and kids who follow and resent. We’d recommend creating a family pariah sticker that can be placed on the opposite sides of the rear windows as the rest of the family, until said pariah learns to participate in Family Game Night as cooperatively as his or her better behaved siblings. We’re also thinking that a set of Vampire Goth Kid overlays might be useful in some family scenarios, to give the outcast children the bad haircuts and pallor that come with Twilight movie over-exposure.

And what about fashion decisions? It appears to Katelin and I that all of the Mommies in the Sticker Family World have 1960s-era bouffant hair-dos and wear frumpy, mid-length skirts that render them completely asexual and matronly. Are there no Mommies out there who wear jeans or business suits, and who do not bee-hive their hair every morning?

And, come to think of it, how come it looks like most of the Daddies are making fists and punching the other members of their families? What’s up with that, yo? Do we need to make some stickers of belts to put in your hands to really strike the Fear of Daddy into their spawn and strangers alike?

So, readers, what other sticker variations should Katelin and I copyright and manufacture? We’ll toss you a bone from the millions we make from your suggestions, if we like them, and we think you’re paying close enough attention to sue us if we don’t.

Have a nice day, Mommies and Daddies and Ex-Pets!

30 thoughts on “Your Family (Window Stick Figure Sticker Version)

  1. It’s almost as if these stickers have replaced the former “Baby on board”. It’s almost like “Oh no I can’t hit that car, there is a baby on board.” now “Hey I can’t hit that car there is a golfing soccer mom on board”


  2. I must not be observant. I’ve never noticed them. What an odd thing. Now I’ll probably see them everywhere.

    I vote for the one woman and the zillion cats in honor of my Great Aunt Dick (yes, you read that right; somehow short for Margarita). However, could we alter it to somehow give homage to the crazy cat lady in “A Clockwork Orange” that proved Alex’s undoing. Uh, never mind, she wound up dead.


  3. Sure you can’t base everything you know about the world for television, but the show Dexter showed that the family stick figures could be used in a terrible way. A serial killer followed a family’s mini van and used the stick figure stickers to know the names of the individuals which made abducting a child easier for him.


  4. I have spent way too much time thinking about these stick figures, which I intensely dislike. In my area (Maryland) there are plenty of “working mom” stick figures (w/skirt & briefcase). Yet Dad, who is assumed to be working, usually carries a golf club or something. I don’t mind adults pigeonholing themselves, but it’s always bothered me that parents feel they can represent their kid(s) as a stick figure. Maybe older kids pick out their own “auto-avatar”? – but I’ve seen plenty of fairy princesses that I think are meant to represent the toddler girl in the family. What kind of message are the kids getting from this odd family advertisement? I would never assume to represent my kids to the public in a singular way like that.

    I wish I understood more about WHY people choose to advertise their families to strangers this way. Is it a kind of Facebook-style way of connecting to all those unknown people out there? Help me understand!

    Oh, and by the way, I loved your thoughts about how these stick figures could possibly “evolve” – that’s a new angle I hadn’t thought of yet!


  5. Have a great trip to the frozen tundra and don’t forget your colorforms… probably one of the few toys you could get on an airplane now days!


  6. My car (an SX4, actually) would need about 200 spider stickers to accurately portray the inhabitants of our house at this point. That might keep car thieves away, but then again I don’t think any car thief has ever bothered to steal an SX4 anyway.


    • Cindee . . . I LOVE my SX4 . . . best car I’ve ever had, seriously. If I see one with 200 spider stickers on it, I’m stealing it, just on principle!

      I remember Colorforms, too . . . though they didn’t involve loud noises, chemicals, electricity or explosions, so they didn’t hold my interest very long . . .


  7. Ellen #13 Thanks for the memories– I haven’t thought of Colorforms in years and I loved them! Have to agree with hum #12 that these sticker people just seem to provide unnecessary personal information to the world.

    On a related note loved this bumper sticker that I just saw:
    “My dog is smarter that your honor student.”


  8. Hum: that’s awesome….I believe all women should have 2 things at all times: a cell phone and a handgun (whichever you use first is up to you)


  9. How about Calvin pisssin’ on “Honor student aboard”…or let’s bring back, “America…luv it or leave it”…or “God is a woman, and she’s pisssed!”
    Stick people…hmmm…wonder if the’ll stick around?


  10. This made me laugh so hard, perfect for getting through work on Friday. Now I can devise other funny family compositions that one could put on the back of the van all afternoon. I do like the single guy and the cat lady.


  11. I second this from Naomi: In honor of this week’s ruling on Prop 8: I’d love to see stick-figure families with two moms or two dads.

    Have a wonderful, safe trip Eric!


  12. Does any one remember Colorforms- a toy from the 1960’s, they where peal and press paper thin plastic shapes you pressed onto a cardboard form… if it was a person shape you could change their clothes and hair style. Sounds corny but was fun… this is what you could use to change up your family car stickers. They could develop an entire line of clothing or show what members of the family are no longer family members. Sounds like a money maker to me!!!


  13. You might as well write what time all the kids go to bed too so that the psycho that is following you home knows how many kids are home and that there is not a dad to protect them. Again, this day and age people give out personal information so freely it is insane… think about it people- safe not sorry. On another note if I had my very own sticker I would be a mom with a hand gun. LOL


  14. “In our family, everybody stomps on the baby! Because we love the baby less than we love our great older child, who we uplift above us, holding him closer to Heaven, where he belongs! Unlike the Evil Baby Child, upon whom we all stomp! Stomp stomp stomp!”

    That in particular got me good — thanks for the morning cackle.

    Safe travels. Be sure to share your lovingly shot pictures of rotten shark upon your return.


  15. In honor of this week’s ruling on Prop 8: I’d love to see stick-figure families with two moms or two dads.

    My newest creative idea: Spin-off stickers featuring the undead. My minivan would have a family of zombie stick figures pursuing a regular family across the window.

    On a sadder note, one of my co-workers said she recently saw a vehicle where the dad stick figure had been (mostly) scraped away. Can you imagine? I’m glad these didn’t exist when I was a kid.


  16. Jed: Word word word.

    Don: We’re off to the Arctic on Saturday afternoon. I ate nothing other than gluten-free/vegan Potato-Leak Soup with Dulse (a New England Seaweed) and Brown Rice today, continuing to purify myself for the Magical Mystery of Fermented Ammonia Shark when I arrive in Bjorkland . . . I’ve lost about six pounds over the past twelve days, so I have a calorie deficit to remedy when I get there. I sure hope they have a lot of of Rotten Shark to feed me back to fighting weight . . .


  17. … and here I was thinking you’d already hopped on Loftledir and headed for the hot springs and fermented shark.

    …but,yo, whatcha doing on the Northway with the stick people in the first place? Drive time’s no time to be on that road, and there are easier ways to get from your part of town to CNSE without putting up with that nonsense, which I’d’ve thought would make you come unhinged.

    Happy travels, internationally and domestically. Leave the fish at Keflavik.


  18. I saw a van with one stick figure in the rear window – just the guy. That’s the only application of these I’ve seen that wasn’t obnoxious and kind of sad. It’s wearing your own band’s t-shirt for people who will never again be in a band.


  19. I think that any figures of the kids should have their heads replaced by the logos for Facebook, AOL, Myspace, Twitter and any other social network / internet service provider, where applicable. You could have some designated as the smart kids (use the linkedin logo), have some as the socially friendly (facebook), the egalitarian (AOL), the unwilling to change (MySpace) and maybe even the developmentally challenged (an old Prodigy or CompuServe logo works well here).


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