A Bumper Crop of Great Graffiti
Years ago, when I used to ride the Howard Line of the Chicago El, I used to see the same graffiti over and over. Someone had apparently taken it upon himself to save the city's poor heathens. And how did he (or she) plan to save them? By reminding them of divine sacrifice.
The Blood of Jesus Saves the Lost.
That was the message. Over and over again. All over the place. At Howard? The Blood of Jesus Saves the Lost. At Morse? The Blood of Jesus Saves the Lost. At Bryn Mawr? The Blood of Jesus Saves the Lost. At every stop, in the blank space on every poster or sign: The Blood of Jesus Saves the Lost.
I found this fairly tiring. I also found it nonsensical. Really, what exactly was that supposed to mean?
Then one day I went up to the Morse El platform, and as I stood there, waiting for me train, I glanced over at the advertising boards in the center of the platform, fully expecting to see the standard graffiti message. On that day, however, the usual message was scratched out, and in its place was:
The Blood of Yogi Bear Saves the Lost Campers.
I laughed out loud.
To this day, that remains my favorite graffiti of all time.
Graffiti, of course, isn't typically known for its wit and insight. I have to admit, however, that seeing "BOO BOO BUTT" painted in huge letters on the side of an overpass made me smile. So did "Ho-Chi-Minh Sold Her-O-In," although in truth that was probably only funny because someone had scrawled it next to the Heartland Cafe. (If there was such a thing as a "leftist restaurant," the Heartland Cafe would have been it.)
There was one other bit of graffiti that I always enjoyed, partly because of its ubiquity. Granted, it may have been the same person responsible for all of it, but I prefer to believe that these particular incidents of petty defacement were the result of some sort of instinctive, universal impulse: a manifestation of our collective unconscious. The starting point for this graffiti was a poster for John Carpenter's movie "The Thing." The "before" and "after" looked like this:
Ah, yes... the Ultimate in Alien Terror.
(In the "due credit" department, I stole this image of the poster from http://forums.sciflicks.com/showthread.php?t=15943.)
Since I've drifted into the realm of cheerfully silly public expression, I might as well say a thing or two about bumber stickers. Every now and then, like a ray of rainbow clown wig in a sea of too-serious college professors, you'll see a bumper sticker that hits just the right tone.
My all-time favorite is still one I saw on I-90 many years ago:
God was my co-pilot, but we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him.
And for everyone who is tired of seeing those bumper stickers that say:
I ♥ My Dog
...why not replace that with:
I ♠ My Dog
...or how about:
Neil Peart's book Ghost Rider has another good one:
Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket?
Once upon a time, there was a page at commondriver.com that listed several good ones. Favorites? Probably these two:
It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation.
There's a long, good list of other great bumper stickers at http://www.funny2.com/bumper.htm. My personal favorites:
I can't get enough minimalism.
In case of rapture, can I have your car?