Why Can’t You Be More Like Kevin?

So, one glorious fall day a year or so ago, Mr. SFL and I were taking a kid-free ride in the car.  There was a minivan in front of us, the rear window of which was asymmetrically decorated with those booster decals.  You know, the thing with a baseball, or a megaphone, or a flute and their kid’s name? I really don’t understand why people think these are a good idea. Lecher Pervypants:  ‘Hey Tyffany – your mom asked me to come and pick you up from cheerleading practice.  The Lexis broke down and she had to take it to the shop.’ Sigh. I just don’t get it. I mean, I understand that parents want to trumpet the accomplishments of their kids, but what happened to the fine tradition of the braggy holiday newsletter? I know my parents had those awful oversized booster buttons with pictures of a young SFL doing whatever it is I did, but they would have never plastered my face or my name on THEIR CAR.  

Also, I don’t like how only certain activities get praised. It seems like judgment by omission. Kids are doing things WAY cooler than sports – why aren’t their parents honoring them via vehicular homage? What about a skateboard? Where is the 21 sided-die for the proud parent of a D&D kid?  An eyeliner tube to symbolize your love for emo-lovin’ Junior?  Maybe just a limp sock for your son who is in a period of self-discovery?  






But I digress…

So, Mr. SFL and I pull up alongside the decal-laden minivan.  As I note previously, they were asymmetrically arranged, with just one decal on the left side and four or five on the right.  Which bothers me on a fundamental level.  If you are going to ‘decorate’ your vehicle, do it with an eye to the visually pleasing.  But as we get closer, I realize that there is a method to the decal madness.  On the right side, a multitude of various symbols proclaim the athletic prowess of one “Kevin.”  Young Kevin, it appears, is quite the polymath – baseball, basketball, football, track – a real year-rounder.  Contrast this with left side of the minivan, where we have but one sad lonely baseball decal for some lazy shit named Cody.  It seems Cody doesn’t try hard enough.  Cody seems to think that he only needs to get off his ass one season a year.  

Well, we finally pass the minivan and I can see it is being driven by an older female – Mom.  Mom is in the process of vigorously chastising the scowling and slouching sluggard in the passenger seat.  And I don’t blame her, as I know instantly that this is Cody – I can tell by the smirk on his face. I don’t need to hear them to know that Cody has been pulling the same old routine, slacking off, playing video games when he should be studying, talking to that slutty cheerleader, Tyffany, at all hours of the night.  Well, I don’t know about his Mom, but I have had about enough of this – Cody needs to get his shit together and soon.  Doesn’t he realize how much his Mom worries about him?  Can’t he see how he is tearing this family apart?

Cody, you bastard, why can’t you be more like Kevin?




  1. The Queen said,

    September 29, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    If you ever see me driving a mini-van with decals praising The Queen, Jr., print this post off and staple it to my eyeballs, please.

  2. Snad said,

    September 29, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Very nice, SFL. The one I see on the cars that bothers me even more is the “In Loving Memory of…” What, exactly, is in loving memory of so-and-so? The car? The rear window? The cheap vinyl letters? The frequently attendant Willie-Nelson-looking fellow with the crown of thorns? And what are we supposed to do with this information? Treat you differently than everyone else? Give you a pass when you switch lanes in front of us without signaling? Wonder what is a respectful amount of time to wait before one scrapes that shit off after the bank has repossessed it and sold it to us for what you owed?

    Of course, now, I’ll be looking for a mini-van with a bunch of sports decals on one side and an “In loving memory of Cody” on the other. Then we’ll know the rest of the story.

  3. Amy T said,

    September 29, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Cody rocks!!!

  4. COD said,

    September 30, 2009 at 9:41 am

    No “Proud Parent of a Bearcat Honor Roll Student” bumper sticker? Obviously these parents are promoting extra curricular achievements at the expense of grades. Somebody should call child services 🙂

  5. DennisVega said,

    September 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Hey, great blog…but I don’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please 🙂

  6. September 30, 2009 at 5:57 pm


    Now, this is slightly OT but what I totally don’t get are the “memorial” decals I’m starting to see crop up on cars around Nashville. Maybe it’s just a Southern thing but I find it highly creepy that someone would drive around in a car with something like “In memory of Tiffany, our little angel, 2006-2009” plastered on the back window (often accompanied by a picture).

    Gosh, I’m sorry for your loss, but since when did we wear our grief like a freaking billboard? (When we started driving SUVs as big as billboards, pehaps?)

    I even saw one car that was a memorial to a person’s DOG, including pictures (it was a German shepherd, by the way).

    Anyone else seen this?

  7. September 30, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    One of my favorite creepy phenomenons is the “roadside memorial” — people put them up, I’m assuming, at the exact location where a loved one died in a car wreck.

    So, are we supposed to speed by and ignore these flower-covered crosses, or slow down to see who died and possibly ponder the fragility of our own lives — and cause yet another deadly auto accident? Respect for the dead = roadside memorials creeping like kudzu across the south!

  8. COD said,

    September 30, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Agreed Rob. There has been a bit of a kurfuffle here in VA with some localities wanting to put a limit on how long the roadside memorials can stay in place. The public outcry shut down the attempts quickly. Apparently public mourning is in around here. It all gives me the creeps.

  9. southern female lawyer said,

    September 30, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Snad – you made me snarf. And on your birthday, too! The memorial decals give me that out-of-body thing I get when I am exposed to the raw emotions of people that I don’t know. I feel confused, then snarky, then guilty, then sad, then someone beeps at me because I have been sitting at the green for way too long, thinking about the emotional nudity of a complete stranger. Also, I always look at the birth and death dates to see how old the person was – I have NO idea why that matters. Oh – and southern beale, I adore your blog, Rev. Shuck suggested it to me. I owe him some cake or something.

  10. Snad said,

    September 30, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Just don’t snarf while you’re driving and wreck or something. Then Rob would have to get one of those decals and I’d have to figure out what to do as I drive past the flowers at the side of the road.

  11. Pappy T said,

    September 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I never got the roadside crosses either. I just picture the family sitting on the front steps of the trailer, eating the Food City chicken leftover from the funeral. They’re all struggling how to best memorialize Junior. Then sissy has an idea. She goes to the table and grabs a Wal-Mart sales paper and a pencil. No, wait, that’s the half straw we used to snort granny’s lortabs. They scribble out a sketch on the lid of the washing machine on the porch. You know, the one with the flowers planted in it. From this bonding moment of family love, blossoms a wooden cross planted firmly in the middle of the drainage ditch where Junior went home to be with the Lord. The cross has plastic flowers duct taped to the cross, and Junior’s #3 NASCAR necklace that he won at the Turkey Shoot last summer at the Moose Lodge.
    Everyone drives by, no one notices. No one cares. No one but me, and the Spanish guy who works for the State Dept. that has to stop and weed eat around the Carajo pedazo de mierda! He notices. I notice…..and so does Junior.

  12. October 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    The first roadside memorial I ever saw was in New Mexico, actually. I thought it might be (no offense) a “Catholic thing.” But now I see them in Tennessee all the time.

    Not to be morose but my dad was killed by a car. It would never occur to me to put up a cross at the location, but I guess I can see why someone would want to mark the spot as The Place Something Happened. When I see one of those roadside memorials, it gets my mind wandering .. thinking about what might have happened here, who the person was, who their people are, what it meant that they’d want to mark the location like that. Do they visit? Do they maintain the memorial? Maybe that’s the writer in me but it gets me thinking.

    It’s a little different from a memorial decal on your car, which strikes me as a tad crass. Marking the spot of a tragedy is different from carrying that baggage around with you everywhere you go.

    Thanks for the pat on the back, SFL! I am Rev.Shuck brought you to my blog because that way I was able to find YOUR blog! I”m going to add you to my blogroll right now!

  13. The Lost Sea said,

    March 5, 2010 at 8:53 am

    First, there needs to be a coffee table book made of those road side memorials. Who wouldn’t love to sit on the couch (at home or the doctor’s office) and browse something like that. Second, my favorite window sticker is WTFIUWTFAB – takes up the entire window!

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