I have a favorite billboard.
If you’d asked me as a kid if I ever thought I’d have a favorite billboard, I’d have looked at you cockeyed while thinking, “What kind of idiot question is that?”
I mean, the only person I know of who likes billboards is a fictional character.
(“It must be the first of the month, new billboard day!”)
That said, I have a favorite billboard. It’s been my favorite billboard since the first time I laid eyes on it.
It’s not so much the content of the sign, it’s the location. The content is neither unique nor original; you’ve seen a version of the advertisement a thousand times, if not more. No, the placement of the sign is what makes my mind wander, my mouth smile, and a slight giggle escape my lips.
Somewhere around mile marker 90 as you drive west through Illinois on Interstate 80, there’s a sign that proudly states: Lion’s Den Adult Superstore, Exit 27.
Like I said, you’ve seen a million of these; porn stores litter highways all across our country.
(Even in the Bible Belt, where they’re unusually hilarious, because they’re usually right before a billboard that simply states, “Jesus.” It’s Heaven vs. Hell, played out next to an off ramp.)
All that said, think about that placement again: mile marker 90, advertising a store at mile marker 27. I’ve seen thousands of “Adult Superstore” billboards, but 99% of them say, “Adult Superstore, Exit NOW.” Now. Now, now, now. They’re trying to snag long haul truckers with impulse advertising. “Hey, you, guy driving the big rig, start turning that wheel to the right. We’re cheaper than a lot lizard, and much less disease prone.”
Not my favorite billboard. This one, gives truckers over an hour to think about the debauchery that awaits them. It makes them ponder possibilities, create realities, and get worked up to the point they might push down on that gas pedal just a little more forcefully.
I mean, not laugh out loud, slap your knee hilarious.
But I love it.
Makes me smile and shake my head every single time I pass it.
Hey, I don’t just wax philosophic about dumb highway signs, I’ve written a book that quite a few folks like. Check it out on Amazon.