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!