Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Sign Replacement Program


A few years back I started the Sign Replacement Program at work. The concept was simple: replace hand written notes on poles, walls and doors of rooms in hotels in the Tenderloin and replace them the next day with type written, cleaned up versions of the original note. For Example: “Iron Broad For Sale, $10, nock on #223” would be replaced with “Ironing Board For Sale, $10, Knock on Room #223.” I would set it to fancy type and maybe even throw in a graphic. I would keep the original and we’d call it even.

The program came to an abrupt end when a co-worker was chased down 3 flights of stairs for stealing a note from Tenderloin hotel door that said “Don’t even think about knokking (sic) or will be boxxing (sic).” This was a very common note on TL doors (don’t knock) except for the boxing part. After this incident, I suspended the program.

Last week I was walking back to work after lunch and saw this young, junkie, homeless guy posting a note on a security gate next to a tranny hotel. He didn’t have tape so he finagled a rubberband around the joints of the security gate to hold the note in place. Given the look of the guy, it had to say something good.

I milled behind him, acting like I was either waiting for a ride or intently interested in something going on across the street, waiting for a glimpse of the note. I finally got a glance: “Suicide NOW, Do Not Wait.” What the hell does that mean?

I ran back to work and announced that the Sign Replacement Program was back in business. I went to my computer and typed, “Suicide NOW!!! Don’t Wait!!” When I returned, he was gone. I took the note and replaced it with the new and improved note.

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