Amidst the fall of the American Empire, world economic collapse and teenagers unable to look up from their cellphones, I submit the greatest scourge of our society has elevated from mere annoyance to cultural anathema: The minivan stick figure family. It must be stopped… now.
My youngest brother, Father of 2 young’ns, has a new minivan. He proudly drove it over, bravely showing his big brother a round cranberry Toyota Sienna with all the fixings. Celebrating a good deal, he showed me the gadgets his rugrats would destroy within a fortnight. He awaited my reaction, which I mustered a less-than heartfelt “great job on haggling”.
You see, my Brother and I have scaled mountains together. Drank single malts into the wee hours laughing over our disdain for humanity (don’t get me wrong… we love you people… just not the others).
I am not a ‘car guy’, but I enjoy cars. My 2nd car was a souped-up Mustang GT with a V8 302 Boss, 5.7 liter, 575 horses (argh argh argh)… A machine that could only be surpassed by Richard Shelby’s bionics. Drive it, and you were Chuck Yeager. We have each owned trucks, sports cars, my midlife-crisis convertible BMW, and when times were tight, base model Mazda’s and Datsuns.
To each his own right? Absolutely… As a Dad, I understand the need for utility. But when you plonk down $30-$70k for a mode of transportation, it should at least inspire you. Speaking of which, I dislike minivans slightly less than the soul-destroying Orwellian Pious Prius.
But this post isn’t about my lack of love for the miniature covered people wagon. It’s what has donned their rear windows. As I walked around the back of the Violet Beauregarde on wheels to my horror I saw his family ‘doing their thing’ drawn in stick.
Here’s the problem: Raising children, particularly teenagers, is a tricky business. Parenting is tough enough without the added pressure of competing with those who publicly proclaim to be doing it better than we are. Between Facebook and the rear billboards of minivans, it appears our children’s accomplishments have become the source of our own self-inflating ego’s.
I have kids, both of which excel (or at least attempt) at sports, been off and on the honor roll, and are basically really GREAT boys, (especially compared to what I put my parents through).
But aren’t the accomplishments or interests themselves, not the public trumpeting, that should generate self-esteem and self-worth?
And if this is a good thing, why do we not see stickers announcing parental successes?
State Farm Employee of the Month!
ReFi’d at 3.0%!
Didn’t eat the 2nd Twix!
So why are we putting all this pressure on our kids and the kids of others sharing our roads?
Also, why announce to a dangerous world the dynamics of your perfect family? Shouldn’t you worry about the safety issue of inviting pervs, creepers, and thieves to follow you home where you have 2 little cheerleader daughters with only a kitty cat to protect you?
If we feel the necessity to share our lives with complete strangers on the road, let’s at least be real about it. There is no family, whatever the dynamic, that is the perfection demonstrated in the syrupy stick family decals.
Let’s take back the streets and proudly proclaim our mediocrity! Shout from your captain chairs that our families are messy and don’t sugar coat it!
Here are a few brave souls who have taken the initiative to reverse the greatest scourge of our society.
As featured at Ricochet.com.