Once upon a time, long ago, you used to see minivans bearing a sign indicating that there was a “Baby on Board”. Back then, babies were notorious for boarding minivans, and then tooling about town lording it over pedestrian babies who had nothing to board but a mommy-powered stroller. (Babies can be cruel that way.)
Over the years, those older babies got tired being babies and stopped. Newer, more enlightened babies were produced, who didn’t need to brag about their boardedness, and the signs came down. This left a huge unblind spot on the minivan’s windshield. And who wants an unfettered view of traffic?
And thus were born the Family Icons. They started out primitive, barely more than stylized restroom door signs, crudely suggesting gender. They came in different sizes, crudely indicating relative age and family status. There was even a crude crawling icon to indicate the presence (but not the boarding state) of a baby. These symbols served a vital function in large families by acting as a kind of family legend (the map kind, not the ancient lore kind).
Dad (loading the trunk after a day at the beach): OK, time to go! Is everyone in the car?
Mom (counting heads): One, two, three… wait, I think someone’s missing.
Dad (consulting the rear windshield): Hey, you’re right! We’re missing the second largest child! The one with hair like Marlo Thomas from “That Girl”! Continue reading