Sunday, September 18, 2011

Parental Bumper Stickers

On my Chrysler Pacifica, admittedly a minivan though labeled a "crossover," which is half SUV and half minivan (I have to have a car big enough to haul drums around), I have stickers of the following: the symbol for Alcoholics Anonymous, one for my favorite tattoo/piercing parlor, my Coyne/Drozd 2012 Presidential advertisement, and one blandly advertising my son's parochial grammar school.

I have a high honor roll student at home. By the time you get to high school, the institution bestows upon the parents a bumper sticker advertising your child's braininess (ha ha, you poor schlubs with simpleton spawns! Fuck you guys!) "MY CHILD IS A HIGH HONOR ROLL STUDENT AT MAINE SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL." A proud moment for any parent, granted, but I'll be damned to Hell if I'm putting that on the back of the Pacifica.

That's not to say I don't comment about my son's intelligence on Facebook, for example, as I'll give him a shout out for straight A's on his report card. I am a proud parent. But Luke's not smart because Craig and I made him smart, though we fostered intellectualism and individualism in him from baby-on. Genes are part of it, but not a huge component. I see no reason to validate myself by advertising to the masses that my kid is smarter than your kid.

And what kind of bumper stickers do they give to kids in special ed? "I'm sort of proud that my underachiever didn't get held back another year?"

One of my best girlfriends can't wait to display her daughter's academics on her car. I find this confounding. I suppose it's part an ego thing and part a living-vicariously-through other's-conquests vibe. Then there's the "what if?" factor. Let's say her kid slips up and doesn't make the honor roll for 2 semesters in a row. Do you remove the sticker? Write over it? Cover it with "I'm the proud parent of a reasonably intelligent child who failed to garner a 4.0 this term?"

My son has mixed feelings about the aforementioned bumper stickers. In one realm, he finds them embarrassing. Conversely, he doesn't understand why I *wouldn't* want to publicly show my pride in him. I explained to him the validating my own esteem aspect of it, which he understood, and he pointed out, "I'm not an honor roll student. I'm a HIGH honor roll student." True, Luke. And that's great. But does the whole world need me thumbing my nose at society about it?

I prefer the late comedian George Carlin's idea of a parental bumper sticker, that says the following:

"We are the proud parents of a child who's self-esteem is sufficient that he doesn't need us promoting his minor scholastic achievements on the back of our car."

All that being said, I just went online and ordered an anarchy symbol sticker for the car.


SuperJuls said...

While I'm sure it's not your intention, I would not call special ed students underachievers. I don't even consider my non-honor roll kid an underachiever. She has intelligence unique to her that doesn't happen to fit into the American school system. My pride stems from her doing her best. Admittedly, even if they put THAT on a bumper sticker, I still won't put it on my car. :)

Annie Miklasz, Offbeat Drumming Lunatic said...

I was being sarcastic about the underachievers in an attempt to mock the likewise ridiculous stickers handed out to the honor students. Your kid's no underachiever, Juls.