It started innocently enough - a Christmas card from some distant family relation arrived in our mailbox, and in the top left corner of the envelope there it was, actually, there THEY were - 4 stick figures - one shaped like "mom", the other like "dad", and a boy and a girl. The name of the family appeared underneath in jolly Comic font, along with their address, so that I could know just where to find the merriment. And thus, I was thrust into the world of Family Stickers - a multi-million dollar business with various sales outlets. On a typical car ride from my home, I spy dozens of mini-vans, steroidal SUVs, and station wagons with a trio, quartet, or quintet of stick figure family members in their rear windows. And you know something - it's annoying the hell out of me!
I know, I'm raining on someone's parade, but these stick figures are as irritating an addition to the backsides of cars as are those "my child is an honor roll student" bumper stickers that shot to fame in the '90s! When a few people had them, I'll admit, they were quirky, a bit off-beat, but now, they've become like a battering ram, like a requirement for the well-adjusted, all-American, nuclear family.
I guess in this age of the over-share, letting complete strangers waiting at the traffic light know the size and make-up of your family seems a harmless indulgence, but seriously, I'm just waiting at the traffic light, not trying to strike up a friendship! I mean, what do you need all of the attention for, anyway?? Why do you require windshield validation for your life choices??
If you're proud of your family, then awesome, post their cute pics on Facebook, start a blog for your closest friends and family members. Oh, you're already doing that?? So then why the stick figure family?
I've seen one car in the grocery store parking lot for the past four years. They began with 3 stick figures - mom, dad, baby. Then they upped it to 4 - mom, dad, baby, dog. Then the 4 became 6 - yep, you guessed it - TWINS!!! So - mom, dad, 2 new babies, son, dog. But, I guess that wasn't enough because the last time I saw that car it had a new figure - number 7 if you're having a hard time keeping up. This latest figure - a cat, yes, that's just what that family needed, one more life form in need of care and upkeep, and ordering more damn stickers!!
So, look, I'm going to try to be a bit less bitter about this whole thing, and to do this, I propose a line of stick figure stickers for people in single and non-traditional lifestyles. There's the female stick figure with a briefcase and a cat. Or maybe the two dads, their two babies, and the surrogate. What about the single guy who's a serial monogamer - this stick figure would come with a dozen female stick figures and big red "Xs" to delineate a break-up. What? You find that too extreme and a bit TMI - well, welcome to my world! I'm just saying:)