Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Joe & Lacey—or is it "Lacy"?—4ever



     "Why do people write graffiti?" my wife asked.
     We were sitting on a bench, eating our lunch at Starved Rock State Park, having decided to take in a few days of fall color. While the park was beautiful, the signage and fence rails were well-scribbled and gouged.
  "I suppose it's their stab at immortality," I replied. Although in a park such scrawls are doubly bothersome, first in that they disturb the beauty of nature, particularly when they are scrawled over trees and stumps, a common practice at Starved Rock. And second because they show a failure to grasp the essential message of nature: she endures, perfect by definition, while we pass through, momentary, evanescent, making our little dent in a field somewhere, and then returning, more or less immediately, to the utter oblivion from whence we came. Carving your name in a tree perpetuates your being, in the grand scheme of things, only a second longer than tossing a rock into a pool does. A few ripples and gone. 
     We were at "Beehive," a lookout point, enjoying our sandwiches, and I noticed a particular graffiti to my left, just because it was so  
bold and fresh. Last year's have already faded. Turning my attention ahead, I saw a second version. You'll notice that the girl's name is spelled differently in each. So one of them is wrong. You have to wonder about the story behind that. Did the swain really not know how to spell his girlfriend's name when he went to immortalize their love along with Romeo and Juliet? What was the moment of correction like? With anger or pity or a laugh? A reminder of another reason people do graffiti: because they're stupid. Never underestimate the importance of stupidity in the business of the world. Sometimes it seems the central operating principle. 


     

8 comments:

  1. Stupidity yes, those who lack the ability to think through the consequences of their actions. But it also consists of those with low self esteem, and a degree of self centered selfishness. Behavior can range from the benign graffiti art on the side of a building scheduled for eventual demolition, to the egregious defacing of a master work of art. Intelligence that varies from the dumb as a box of rocks church group scout leaders who toppled rock pinnacles at Goblin Valley State Park, to the Greenpeace scientists of vastly superior intellect, than a denier such as myself, who vandalized the Nazca lines of the hummingbird in Peru.

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    1. Bernie-Your first two sentences sound like you are describing Trump.

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    2. Thanks a lot! Now all I can do is visualize another attribute of a dystopian donald dictatorship, Trump signs plastered all over our government buildings and National Monuments.

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  2. I hope Joe gets the name right when he tattoos it on his forehead. A bad idea of a bad idea, which is what alcohol adds to native stupidity.

    john

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  3. It seems we humans have some kind of deep-seated compulsion to express ourselves in these ways, whether it's to immortalize ourselves or to ruin/deface something new, as a child or teen would do, by drawing on a newly paved sidewalk, for example.

    SandyK

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  4. If you compare the 'J' and the 'e' it looks like two different people wrote of their undying love, using the same marker. Who wrote what, I cannot say.

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  5. real stoopid over hear. thanks for letting me hang out with al y'all brilliant folk awfully nice of you. if you think a little harder ( yeah i know its hard) you might come up with other reasons people do things you disapprove of or disagree with other than their stupid. for me the word stupid ends the conversation. do you notice people who disagree with you call you stupid as well? like children on the play ground. try using all that extra superior brain power you are convinced you have but others surely don't . maybe we can figure out a way to get along

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  6. When I go to places like Starved Rock and see the graffiti and litter it always crosses my mind that just going there suggests an attraction to the beauty of nature. Yet despite the effort to seek out nature they destroy the very thing they are attracted to. It makes my head hurt.

    Humans. The only animal that sh-ts it it's own nest.

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