Signs of…

We spent our two weeks of Christmas break on the road, traveling from New Orleans to visit family in Minnesota and then back. A wonderful time was had, but we put in over 3800 miles of windshield time, with plenty of stops; ample opportunities for “Umm….?” moments.

This first one actually resulted in my coining a new phrase.

Driving through northern Missouri, I saw a billboard for a real estate guy; (First name) ‘Hoodie’ Hood. asterisk1I teach in an urban high school, I know nicknames and monikers. I know American culture, and I know hoodies. I see a guy who calls himself ‘Hoodie’ I’m thinking someone who is hip.

Happening, with it. Yo!  Ya know?

‘Hoodie’ should be pretty much anything other than a middle-aged, white bread, white guy, yet there he was, smiling (sort of), in his sportcoat and open neck shirt on a big ol’ highway billboard: ‘Hoodie’ Hood.

‘Hoodie’ is what I now call a ‘badassterisk’ – someone who thinks they are a badass*

*…but they really aren’t.

Feel free to use the phrase, badassterisk*. I think it has a fair number of applications. If someone is trying to look or act tougher than they could ever hope to be, or just posturing in a ridiculous way for whatever reason, simply comment, “Oh yeah, that guy is a real badassterisk*.”

Trust me. You’ll be using that one.

blackfridayAnother double-take-inducer was this sticker I noticed in the drive-through window at a Minneapolis area fast-food outlet.

Black Friday hours? Seriously? Black Friday is now an official enough holiday to warrant its own fast food drive through hours? As a promotion or public service?

Really? Breakfast for Black Friday?

“Emperor Nero, please phone your office.”

But the true pièce de résistance comes this masterpiece of modern culture from Memphis, Tennessee.

We stopped at a really small gas MemphisPosterstation/convenience store to get gas and use the restroom. While waiting in line for the restroom key, I noticed the poster at left posted on the store’s limited wall space. Next to the (fairly large, for a small store) beer cooler, I might add.

The poster’s wording itself was jarring enough: ‘Give Responsibly. Lottery Tickets Aren’t Child’s Play’ was one thing; the visual of the gift boxes (which I took to represent Toys for Tots or some other such donation setting) really pushed this one into a whole new realm.

Then I really started to think about it.

Wouldn’t you love to have been a fly on the wall of the meeting where this whole concept came to fruition? “Folks…we have a major issue here with kids being given lottery tickets for Christmas gifts. People are even putting them in donation boxes for charity toy drives! I think we need an ad campaign to tell people ‘this is really not okay.’ We’ll hang ’em up everyplace we sell lottery tickets. Preferably by the beer coolers.”

What I wonder is, what prompted the revelation that this was a problem? Dickensian waifs oliver1showing up to claim their winnings? Family shout-outs on Facebook? (“Happy ninth birthday, Johnny! So glad you enjoyed the scratch-offs! Hope you win big!”)  Maybe it was kids themselves, gleefully Instagraming themselves holding wads of scratch-offs.  

“Folks, we have a problem here…”

Yeah, that particular lottery department meeting and subsequent creative session would have been something to behold.

Bet the person who pitched this ad campaign is a real badassterisk.*


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