Friday, June 19, 2009

Petty Vandalism was my MO

I was in high school in the early 90’s, back when MC Hammer was telling us that it was Hammer Time. I was a goody goody in high school, ever drank (except for once), got good grades, participated in school activities, and all that two shoes stuff. But I had a weakness. I was a petty vandal.

I carried a sharpie around with me, and scrawled occasional random bits of graffiti. Most of it didn’t make much sense. I didn’t care to tell anyone when I had visited that particular bathroom stall. Instead my contributions of the graffiti world consisted of things like song lyrics, stick figures in a “Walk like an Egyptian” pose and the like.

I was driving home from school one day, and stopped at a stop sign somewhere in Enfield, Connecticut. I cracked up as I read the sign. First it said STOP, but then somebody scrawled underneath it “Hammer Time.” Brilliant! I had just stumbled upon a new vehicle for my writings. I was thrilled at the prospect of my obscure scribbles being exposed to more people than those who used the bathrooms at school. I grew excited at both genders getting to view my artistic contributions.

I raced home and called my friends, “Guys! This is it! We need to come up with some phrases incorporating the word ‘stop’.” The next night, armed with a fresh sharpie and friends packed into my 85 Olds Calais. We cruised down Newbury Road in East Windsor, an isolated road in the middle of nowhere which would serve as the perfect place to test out an installation of my art. I pulled up to the stop sign, leapt out of the car, and dashed to the stop sign on the side of the road. I scrawled “Polka time” under the word “Stop” on the sign—an homage to my roots.

Soon I became more brazen. Dozens of stop signs in East Windsor were defaced with the words “Polka time.” Worn out sharpies littered the floor of my car. The buzz about the weird “Polka Time” stop signs grew at school, and all fingers pointed at me. My classmates shook their heads and said “I am not at all surprised it was you.”

Tonight I was picking up pizza from Wicked Good Pizza. I stopped at the stop sign before leaving the parking lot and saw that someone else created their own stop sign art installation. The words “Don’t” and “Believing” were written in black sharpie on the sign, so that it read “Don’t Stop Believing.” I applaud this stop sign graffiti artist for taking it to the next level, and actually saying something a more hopeful and meaningful than my asinine “Stop! Polka time!”

Who ever you are, thank you for making my day. Oh and don’t STOP making people smile.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Carol said...

I've just recounted this story to Bill and he's singing Journey in his head. LOL!

We have a Hammertime stop sign in town. It cracked me up. Apparently I'm not creative enough to think of clever things like that.

June 19, 2009 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger Matt Hardy said...

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September 24, 2013 at 1:39 AM  

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