Have you ever wondered what those car decals really mean? Well we've decoded them for you! For example, "Salt Life" really means "swam in ocean once."

Decoded: Rear-Window Decals

Have you ever wondered what those car decals really mean? Well we've decoded them for you! For example, "Salt Life" really means "swam in ocean once."
Image credit: Mike Mozart / Flickr

By Jacqueline Miller of Boogers Abroad 

Have you ever been sitting at a stoplight, staring at the minivan in front of you, wondering, “What’s the real meaning behind that gymnastics decal on their rear window?”

Or maybe, like me, you had to google “What is the Salt Life?” after spying those stickers plastered to dozens of vehicles in the school pick-up line.

Have you seen so many stick-figure families looking back at you that you’re tempted to get a set, too, but you have no idea why? Or you’re flummoxed by all the curly Q initials popping up around the high school and community college.

Then you’re in luck.

We’ve decoded some of the most common rear-window decals, based on haphazard research in a small Midwestern town. Using absolutely no actual statistics or even anecdotal evidence, along with a sassy attitude and general aversion to said decals, here are the super-secret meanings you won’t find anywhere else.

Decorative initials: Can spell all three of her names and, in some cases, also read cursive.

Baby on board: Fertile and proud.

Children’s activity logo: Grown-ups who’ve forsaken their hobbies, social life and bank account for junior’s (fill-in-the-blank) involvement.

Stick-figure family: Not-very-talented artist on board.

University logo: Student-loan debt. Decent vocabulary. Logoed sportswear.

Share the road with bicycles: Wears padded bike shorts on weekends.

Apple logo: Might be able to fix your computer.

26.2: Owns anti-chafing cream. Can outrun you without getting winded.

Ironman: Has a favorite brand of energy gel. Can outrun, out-swim and out-bike you. Super-human.

0.0: Funyuns. Quoter of The Simpsons.

Honor roll student: Silently judging parents who don’t volunteer to chaperone field trips.

Student driver: My mom is super embarrassing. Also, you might not want to follow me so closely. And for goodness sake, don’t honk at me or I might freeze in panic or dissolve into a puddle of tears.

Jesus fish: Follow me to church.

Darwin fish: Don’t follow me, that would be creepy. My bookshelf holds at least one graphic novel and my dusty Philosophy 101 textbook.

Salt Life: Lives 1,000 miles from the ocean. Went to Florida once or twice over spring break.

Oval European country abbreviation: Would rather be in France. Or England. Or Luxemburg. Dreams of living there someday. Desperately saving money for an overseas vacation.

National Parks sticker: Has at least 50 wildlife photos. Probably owns dirty hiking boots and never-used bear spray. Zip-off pants are a strong possibility.

Anything political: My entire social media feed supports this position. Will send you an article, direct from Facebook, if you’re curious.

I’m not speeding, I’m qualifying: My auto insurance costs significantly more than yours. Now, get out of the left lane before I flash my brights at you and start tailgating.

Coexist: Spiritual but not religious. Owns wind chimes and maybe a crystal or two.

Pissing boy: Badass dude who bought a knock-off Calvin and Hobbes sticker.

Help us complete our unscientific study! If you’re sporting any of these decals on your very own vehicle, tell us if you find these assessments totally spot-on or completely off-base.


About the Author

Jacqueline Miller is the lone female in a house full of guys. She travels freakishly light and can balance two kids on her Dutch bicycle. Her recent articles appear in Today’s Parent and Sammiches & Psych Meds. Follow her at www.boogersabroad.com and https://www.facebook.com/boogersabroad.