While I was enjoying a Triple Lindy burrito with sour cream and cilantro for lunch yesterday, I started thinking about all the fun we had with signs during high school. Well, to be more precise… signs and cheap beer in unreasonable amounts.
Sounds kinda weird, huh? Well, allow me to explain.
Bill from WV and I went through a period in our drinking career, you see, when we drove around the Kanawha Valley looking for interesting street signs to pilfer. Most of the ones we snagged had some connection to music: Hendrix Avenue, 52nd Street, E Street, Costello Street, etc.
We had it down to a science. Once we identified our target the driver would pull alongside the pole, and the person in the passenger seat would jump out, climb up on the bumper, and rock the entire housing back and forth until it said fukkit. Usually we’d end up with two signs, going in opposite directions, and we’d have to dismantle the thing with a screwdriver.
During my entire stay in Greensboro I had a green Dunbar Avenue sign, obtained in this manner, hanging in my bedroom. Wonder what happened to that thing….?
After a while, though, the tiny signage didn’t do it for us anymore. It was just a gateway drug, and led to the theft of yield signs, speed limit signs, etc.
I remember one time we took an entire pole(!), with the signs still attached. After we stripped-off everything we wanted, Bill javelined the pole through the dining room window of an empty house in the neighborhood.
A year or so later, when the place was being renovated, we saw a worker carrying that thing out the front door, shaking his head in confusion. And we buckled-over in laughter.
One night we were out drinkin’ beer and stealin’ signage, and forgot one in the trunk of Bill’s parents’ car. His mother told his dad she was hearing a banging noise in the rear of the vehicle, and when he checked it out he found a Men At Work sign (or somesuch), in the trunk. The thing was massive, and Bill’s dad was not amused.
If we hadn’t committed that unfortunate tactical error, I have no doubt we would’ve soon graduated to interstate exit signs, and the like. Sure, we would’ve had to rent a flatbed truck, but that would’ve only been a minor hurdle.
We also had a brief flirtation with the moving around of election signs. We’d take Bill’s pickup around town, throw random campaign signs into the back, and set them up in the yards of our friends. Oh, we thought this was high comedy…
We heard, through my Dad, that the candidates were extremely upset, and blaming each other. We were causing a political incident! But did we stop? No, we did not. And we were eventually caught by the police.
There used to be a large vacant lot in the center of town (where Shoney’s now hosts their all-you-can-eat Gristle Bar), which was prime real estate for politicking. So one night, all cranked up on Miller High Life or whatever, we went there and started loading the bed of the truck again.
And the next thing we know… cops are all over us. Apparently they’d been watching from afar, and swooped in the moment they saw someone monkeying with the campaign materials. Bill, I remember, was running across the lot with a huge wooden sign hoisted above his head, like a hang glider.
The cops told us to sit on the curb, and shut our goddamn mouths. We’d polished off our share of beers during the evening, and started worrying we might be arrested for public drunkenness, or DUI, or something. So, to mask the smell of Miller, we each ate a handful of grass. Heh.
But they only asked a few questions, and let us go. They wanted to know if we were a couple of standard-issue dumbasses, or dumbasses-for-hire. “Are you doing this for someone else?” they demanded. And our confused expressions told them all they needed to know.
I remember they were going through the signs in Bill’s truck, and making a comment about each candidate. “Oh God, put that one back, she’ll raise nine kinds of hell…” and “Yeah, that’s just Ratman, lean it against that dumpster over there…”
We also went around town one evening, and collected a metric shitload of realtor signs — and put every one of them in Rocky‘s front yard. There were dozens of the things, from many different companies. I don’t know why that’s so funny, but it is. I’m laughing right now. I wish I had a picture of it.
During one of our sign-procurement expeditions, our friend Mike grabbed a flashing yellow light. It had been attached to a metal sawhorse, in front of some recent roadwork, and was larger than you might think.
Somehow we smuggled it into his bedroom; I think I passed it to him through a window. And that’s when things got really interesting…
His parents were in the living room watching TV, and we couldn’t get the flashing to stop. And that shit was bright! The bedroom door was closed, but there was an intermittent blast of yellow coming from underneath it. If his mom or dad went to the bathroom, it would be Game Over.
Mike put the ridiculous thing under the covers of his bed, but it didn’t help much. Every few seconds the whole platform would light-up. It was like some kind of weird art exhibit.
We couldn’t stop laughing: nervous laughter.
He hid it in a closet, way in the back behind the game of Life and Mousetrap, and that seemed to work best. But it still wasn’t ideal. When I walked home, a little later, the entire rear of their house was flashing yellow through the windows.
An old man was standing in his backyard, with a bag of trash in his hand, and said, “What’s going on over there?” And I just shrugged my shoulders and kept walking.
The whole thing was quite hilarious, and Mike’s parents weren’t overly pissed when he was busted minutes after my departure. I mean, it was inevitable. It’s very difficult, we learned, to conceal a freakin’ lighthouse beacon inside a suburban bedroom. It really is.
And sorry about yesterday… We sold the rolling box o’ beds, and it ended up dominating the day. We had to transfer the title, and all that crapola. Then the lights wouldn’t work when they were ready to leave. So, what should’ve required an hour, dragged out for most of the afternoon.
But hopefully this rare Friday update will make up for yesterday’s radio silence.
I probably won’t update again until Tuesday. I hope everybody has a great holiday. The weather here is perfect (perfect!), and I can foresee some meat being cooked out of doors, as well as a substantial number of beers disappearing. Yes, I can.
As for a Question… Did you ever get into the moving around of signs, or anything of the sort? Please tell me it wasn’t just us. Also, any plans for the big swollen holiday weekend? What kind of beer will you be enjoying?
See you guys next time!
Oh, and yes, you read that correctly: we ate grass.