What is it about those stupid My Family stickers that makes me hate them so? They’ve only been around to annoy the crap out of me for a relatively short time, but I possibly now detest them even more than those awful Baby On Board things with the little suction cups.
I honestly don’t know what it is. What I do know is that I’m certainly not alone in my disdain. There are any number of webpages and Facebook groups, all united in their mutual hatred of My Family. However, I’m also cognisant of the fact that harbouring an irrational dislike of something so ostensibly inoffensive, for no readily apparent reason that I can think of, is neither sound nor logical.
I’m determined to get to the bottom of this! After all, how many reasons can there be?
It’s not a personal longing to’ve thought up the over-priced concept myself, though I’m undeniably envious of the absurdly enormous income stream they’ve generated for their creators. It’s not jealousy of those fine procreative families ticking every box on the Stereotype Application Form – I’ve no reason to be jealous of a dated, Anglo-centric urban family ideal that, I suspect, doesn’t really exist any more.
It’s certainly not some perverse desire to have what others have – offspring and family life are very much theirs to enjoy and I unreservedly wish them well with it, thank you very much! It’s not even that I wish I could put the stupid things all over my own car either – I could if I wanted to.
So what is it?
I recently stumbled across an opinion piece by Letitia Rowlands, published in The Daily Telegraph in November 2011. At the risk of being a tad lazy about this, her point of view perfectly sums up my own. In short, it’s a combination of three basic things:
1. So you’re a family unit of one or more parental entities, two or more offspring and some pets? So far, you’re nothing too far out of the Australian Bureau of Statitics’ ballpark;
2. It’s not as if you’re the only one who’s ever bred and reared offspring; and
3. I don’t really care what the make-up of your family unit is – just drive properly or get the f**k out of my way!
Rowlands’ article is a good laugh. Click here to have a read of it.
OK, so I’ve managed to pinpoint what I don’t like about them, but I’m still not sure exactly why.
It’s not really about the money the My Family creators have made off the back of something so simple. Everyone has to make a living somehow and if they’ve managed to convince so many struggling Aussie families to part with their hard-earned cash just to be like everyone else, good luck to them!
It isn’t because the whole thing doesn’t amuse me either. Even if there’s not much to laugh about where the ‘original’ My Family characters are concerned, there’ve been quite a few really funny piss-takes of the concept… although I guess they’re only ‘funny’ because they’re so self-referential in nature. And what an easy target, considering it’s f***ing everywhere!
Maybe that’s it? Maybe that’s the answer I’ve been looking for? So many people have My Family all over their cars that it’s become inescapable. Do people, by and large, really all think so similarly about things? Or is this just another example of how strongly the power of suggestion dictates so much of how we live in the 21st century? See. Want. Must have.
But it’s not this widespread lack of independent thought that really gets to me. It’s the blind stupidity of these My Family lemmings and the still-scarier thought that they’re probably not the slightest bit aware of what they’re doing. My friend Caroline recently told me a story about a car she’d seen that truly made me shudder – the story, I mean, not the car.
Picture this: I’m parking in the street and from no more than a few cursory glances and the time it takes to reverse park my car, get out of it and walk away, I can already tell more about you than the average identity thief could hope to learn from gaining access to your mailbox, inbox and online banking for an entire month. I know, for example, that you’re one half of a same-sex couple. You have three kids (2 girls and 1 boy), 2 dogs (1 large, 1 small) and a cat. Your mother or maybe your mother-in-law also lives with you… or maybe you’re in one of those lesbian ménage à trois deals?
Your son plays soccer. One of your daughters plays hockey, the other is a musician. Your name could be Kim (maybe Kimberley) and you might’ve been born in March 1978. Personality-wise, you’re pretty out there without going too over the top; I suspect you’re a follower of NRL football; and you live somewhere in or around the suburb of Rockdale.
I don’t know you or anything about you – not officially anyway. In fact, I’ve never actually met you and probably never will. So how could I know so much about your family?
Simple – you told me. Or more to the point, your car told me. In less than a minute, without intending or even attempting to learn anything about you or your family, I found out more than I could’ve imagined possible.
Your reasonably out there top-of-the-range Toyota Rukus, liberally decorated with My Family stickers and Parramatta Eels paraphernalia, was sufficient evidence of your family unit, your borderline shy/wild personality and the football thing. Your personalised number plate was a fairly good indication of your name and your age. The Toyota dealership sticker in the middle of the rear window, plus a local council sticker on the bumper and a small adhesive label from a local automotive repairs place in the windscreen all gave me a pretty sound idea of roughly where you live.
That was a hypothetical, but it’s close enough to the truth of what my friend Caroline actually saw.
The volume of personal information that people volunteer about themselves these days – particularly via their cars – is frightening. In an age of such paranoia over the apparent threat of identity theft, a lot of people clearly aren’t concerned about being identified through their car. Maybe they’re not actually conscious that the My Family creators’ financial gain could very easily be their financial loss!
Hey I know – I’m gonna patent a My Family spin-off series that I can suck as many gullible fools into as possible. It’ll be so simple, just a few stick-figure images – a pile of cash, an ATM and an ATM card – and a whole series of letters and numbers in that cool My Family-style lettering. I’ll call it My PIN. Right next to their families, the same gullible fools that already have their entire lives displayed on their back windows can also proudly display their ATM PIN. Outcome: even more of their personal information on display, with the added bonus of potential financial ruin. Result!
Then again, maybe the original idea’s already stupid enough as it is.