Friday, May 11, 2012

I Brake for Car Decals

I guess I have been spending an inordinate amount of time in my van lately, hauling kids from one place to the other, because one of my new favorite hobbies is checking out the rear window decals of the vehicles I share the road with.

I am not sure if this is a nation-wide phenomenon or it is more a product of the "look-at-me-and-marvel-at-my-fabulous-offsring" lifestyle of the affluent area I live in, but these decals seem to grace the back of most SUV's, minivans, and cars I see.

Many people have the "cute cartoon people to depict our family" on their rear window. Like this:

The Stickersons: Family Car Stickers Decal Kit

I like this one better. My nerd family would have this one... if we did this kind of thing:
Star Wars Family Decal Set Stick People Car or Wall Vinyl Decal Stickers

Although, every time I see the "Family Stick Figures", it makes me think of some of the really big Catholic families I know. I so want one of them to put a set of these on the backs of their vehicles. Like my friend Ana's family - Dad figure, Mom figure, four big girl figures, two little boy figures, a baby figure, and two dogs.
It would take up the whole back window of their Suburban and would be SO awesome! People would be plowing into each other trying to comprehend it all! I am tempted to get her a set....

 Personally, I like this one I found on Amazon best:
ChainSaw Decal F*@K Nobody cares about YOUR STICK FIGURE FAMILY Funny Vinyl Sticker 8"x5"

The next most popular type rear window decal is the "my-child-participates-in" variety.
 soccer window sticker decal clings & magnets(thanks - you just make 'em. I am sure you are a fine company!)

 After being trained in child safety by a variety of agencies in the Dallas area, and being involved in the Safe Environment training for years, it creeps me out a little to think people are willing to advertise their child's name, team, jersey number, vehicle make and model to every stranger on the road. Can you imagine?
"Hey, Jeremy! I work with your mom and she got sick at work and asked me to come pick you up from practice.....You aren't sure you should come with me? Well, will this help you believe I know your mom? She drives a 2010 silver Toyota Sienna. I can give you the license plate number, if that helps. You play for the Frisco Football League Cowboys and you wear number 12. You also are a gymnast at WOGA. You have a sister named Ella and she plays soccer... See, I know your mom!"

Not to mention it is just a little obnoxious. One tasteful decal is not too bad, but in my area of the world NO ONE has their child in just one activity! And we like to brag about our busy lifestyle down here! I really do not want to know how over-committed your children are!

My very, very favorite was a small SUV we saw at a local soccer field a few weeks ago. The back window was not very large. The family had two sons clearly committed to every sport known to man. A third child had one smaller decal smack in the upper center. I wondered why that child only got one when his brothers' praises were being sung all over the back window. I finally decided he must only be two or three years old, and therefore is just gearing up. They will clearly need a larger vehicle with a wide back window when he gets going, too. I think they left about 5 square inches in the center free for the driver to check out the rear view in their current vehicle.
Offense 1 - They had the decals that not only advertised what sports/activities their children participate in, they also had their children's names on each one. The names, oh! the names of those poor children! My hope is that they had family meaning. Perhaps they were the dignified monikers for distinguished great-grandfathers who won the Purple Heart in WWII. I hope. Because if they were just going for "unique, different from all the other kids", they succeeded, and not in a good way.
Offense 2 - My first thought when we pulled in next to this vehicle was, "Those poor kids! They must never be home!" Why advertise that you over-commit your child and your family. Does any child need to be involved in five or six sports? If you want them too, and they want too, well...okay, but don't brag about it!

It made me think about what I can possible decorate my new-to-us-minivan with.
"My son wears a kilt - Scottish Highland Dance - Young Adult" (He would KILL me!)
"Our robot can beat up your robot - First Lego League - Romeo"
"Engineering Rules! - First Lego League - Cookie Boy"
"I break for 'bots - First Lego League - Young Adult"
"Soccer for recreational use only"- FSA - 64 - Romeo"
"My Son is a model Scout - Romeo"
"Boy Scouts of America - Cookie Boy"
"My son will make Eagle Scout if it kills me - Young Adult"
"Homeschool Book Club - read it and weep - Romeo"
"All my children are honors students - Homeschooling rocks!"

Speaking of homeschooling and decals/bumperstickers, I want this one thanks, Shop Great Products:

Before I get off this topic, I will leave you with  some helpful tips for those of you choosing to sport Child Activity/School Spirit/church affiliation decals on your car of choice:
  • Going 60 mph in 40 zone does not advertise for First Methodist on Main Street well.
  •  It does not reflect well on you or your honor student when you go 40 through an active school zone.
  • Leave off the decals that proclaim peace to all people/races/religions if you are going to continue to travel on my bumper. Respect applies to driving as well!

Beep beep!


Anonymous said...

I actually saw today a minivan with stick figure decals that shows the people in the family. Mom, two girls one big one small and a cat. But it didnt end there it had everyones names, even the cats name. How unsafe can you get?!?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear a compelling practical argument for exactly HOW that is "unsafe". Aside from knee-jerk reactions that it just is, darnit.