The Hieroglyphics of Family

The unthinkable has happened. I’ve become one of those women who puts stick figure people on her car. You know—to broadcast procreative talents in a manner that even cavemen could readily grasp (or perhaps mock, because said portrayal is so embarrassingly unoriginal, not to mention self-absorbed).

At any rate, it was inevitable that I would succumb to the mass marketed, frippery-inspired family car sticker craze, especially given my penchant for oversharing. Indeed, the huddled mass of people and pets now emblazoned upon my rear window qualifies as such—a telling distillation of my life, rendered plainly and simply, as if by a child, with what appears to be sidewalk chalk. I’m not entirely sure what drove me to acquire such foolishness, though I suspect it was my fascination with the notion that an entity as complex and hopelessly entwined as a family unit could be readily reduced to something that seems almost entirely manageable. An abbreviated version of one’s motley crew, as it were, all neat and tidy, smiling for the camera, not an angsty adolescent or overtaxed adult in the bunch.

The frazzled and woefully imperfect parent within me, of course, had to have it—even if it smacked of impossibility, painting what could only be described as “the delicious illusion of order” upon the canvas of my disordered world. But I digress.

I threw the silly thing in my cart, delusions and all, and went home a happy woman. Naturally, on the first sunny day following my purchase, I made the joyous trek to my car—stick figures in one hand and Windex in the other. And because I couldn’t bear to discard a single sticker included in the set, I used them all, plastering an entire corner of glass with a parade of modern day hieroglyphics.

That said, each twig-like personage is now depicted with some sort of accessory that seemingly defines them (i.e. the trappings of life without which we would surely wither and die). Shopping bags and sports gear. Backpacks and briefcases. Sadly, and despite a great deal of rummaging through the lot, I failed to find a graphic representation of a computer, a jigsaw puzzle or anything remotely suggestive of chocolate, all of which epitomize the essence of my being. Instead, I settled for a golf club and a whiskered cat at my side.

And although my charges were quite satisfied with the soccer ball and the tiny tennis racquet I outfitted them with, a tower of books and a much-adored iPod Touch would’ve made far more sense (for Thing One and Thing Two respectively). Likewise, my husband would have been thrilled to be pictured with the big, hairy dog I will probably never agree to adopt, although the baseball gear (he assures me) “is just fine” and the neurotic little dog we actually own is “just fine, too,” both of which appear in the same crowded corner of glass. Yet our sticker-fied family dynamic is still left wanting.

More specifically, my search for a woman-child/college student stick figure proved fruitless and I cannot begin to express my disappointment. Thank you very little, gods of inane car stickers.

Okay, maybe I didn’t look hard enough. Or perhaps I should have added my own pitifully rendered stick figure with Wite-Out, so that all three of my progenies could have appeared there as a cohesive whole. I suppose I could have sketched our dear lizards and wee hamster, too, at the insistence of a certain couple of somebodies. Instead, I addressed the perceived injustices by caving to their demands that I include two stick figure boys. Boys who have taken part in our pets’ funeral services and Beyblade battles. Boys who have been bandaged and fed here more than a few times. Boys who are practically family anyway, and rightly belong with our so-called sticker family.

Here’s hoping they’re okay with that.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (joining the ranks of stick figure people everywhere). Visit me there at

Copyright 2012 Melinda L. Wentzel


1 Comment

Filed under Family Affair, In the Trenches of Parentville, The Natives are Decidedly Restless

One response to “The Hieroglyphics of Family

  1. onlinista

    I have always looked at those stickers. First I found them so cute, then they were everywhere (which proves they were cute indeed). Now that you bought yours I am going to buy mine 🙂 I think I will depict my kids as a sportsman and a brilliant student. Could be a good inspiration for them (or maybe I should just let them pic). Thanks for writing this and enjoy your family stickers!