We’re still not allowed to keep chickens here in Our Little Town. I’ve been drafted into a group that is seeking to change that – I’ve been to one meeting so far, and mostly I discovered that chicken people overlap considerably with Doctor Who people, though what deeper significance that may have I cannot tell you – but so far it’s all in the planning stages. Our chickens are not street legal here. We have to keep them outside of the municipal borders.
Fortunately we have a friend who has a barn just outside of town, and she has been very generous for the last two years about letting us keep our chickens (and now turkeys) there. Every day we drive out to feed them, collect the eggs, and generally see to whatever tasks need to be done.
On the way home we pass a billboard.
Usually it has some upcoming event to advertise or product to sell. The message varies month to month. The billboard sits on the main route into town from the west, so I imagine it gets a lot of traffic and is a desirable billboard, as billboards go. Lots of people want to put up their ad there.
But even popular billboards have down times. Usually the billboard company will just keep the old one up there – free advertising for the last customer, until the next one comes along – but sometimes they don’t. I imagine that decision is based on whether there is a deadline on the previous design (“Come to the Show on This Date!”) or if they find that particular customer pleasant to work with or not. It never hurts to be pleasant, people.
When they have down time the billboard company usually puts up its own ads, mostly urging people to buy time on their billboard.
I get that, really I do. But sometimes you have to ask yourself what people are thinking when they write the copy for these ads.
Recently the billboard seems to have fallen into a fallow period between paying advertisers, so the billboard company has put up a plea to the rest of us. See how useful this sign can be! This is your opportunity! You should rent this sign for your ad! It’s here just for you! Or words to that effect.
What it actually says is: “Here’s your sign!”
Has Bill Engvall been so thoroughly forgotten that this is now considered a decent tagline for advertisements? Certainly Lauren had no idea why I nearly drove off the road laughing the first time I saw this billboard. All things considered, I’m not really sure that this is the way you want to advertise your services.
For those of you who live under rocks or are younger than 13, Bill Engvall is a comedian with a routine that I believe is officially entitled “I Hate Stupid People” but which everyone knows as the “Here’s Your Sign” routine. The premise is simple: stupid people should be forced to wear signs so that the rest of us would know not to rely on them or take them seriously. And how would we know who to give the signs to? Well, that would be obvious.
At one point in the routine, for example, he tells a story about pulling into a service station with a flat tire. The attendant came out, looked at it, and asked, “So, tire go flat?” “Nope,” Engvall replied. “I was driving around and those other three just swelled right up on me! Here’s your sign.”
So you kind of have to wonder who this billboard is being pitched to, really.
“Hey! Want to spend money in the fond hopes that it will increase your business or make your event more successful? Here’s your sign.”
It’s a dangerous thing having a sense of humor and a decent memory, particularly at highway speeds.