Climbing Advertisement

Posted: Thursday August 1, 2013

Back when I was more boring I would notice the messages displayed about the many tall billboards, always advertising some form of bullshit material goods or textually spewing sugar coated propaganda to sponge minded passerby's below. The advertisements always precisely placed, so as to garner the most attention; bold text on bright colored backgrounds suspended over cliff edges or bolted atop tall poles overlooking busy highways is par for the course. At night, bright energy inefficient lights illuminate the suspended messages so as darkness will not conceal the incitement of a Big Mac burger or some stupid fucking lizard promising to save you money on car insurance. During my commute to various institutions, I would pass by the same billboards day after day, read the same advertisements for weeks on end until some new corporation rented out the space to throw up some nonsense promotional material of their own. However the corporations aren't dumb, for every money hungry proprietor knows that the simplest way into the American's wallet is either through our stomach or easily deceived minds and so despite changes, the ads all tend to mimic a common theme of food and false promises.

From vehicular perspective I often glance through my driver's side window to get a look at the type of stereotypical figure driving the passing automobile in the lane across from mine. Most often I am greeted by the sight of some lumpy, voluminous, paunchy figure who just might be using their bloated gut to turn the steering wheel, while their hands are busily shoving into mouth six White Castle sliders as a blotch of ketchup squirts out staining their shirt. In other common instances the scatter minded teenager with eyes glued down and fingers dancing around a cellphone screen, texting nudes or some other insignificant malarky passes on by. Now and then and depending on the hour of day, a soccer mom toting around her useless offspring may speed past in a gas guzzling SUV, as no doubt little angel Johnny probably got his ass beat for talking back in CCD the evening before, causing the whole sibling gang to be late for the morning Catholic soccer league. However the most rewarding to spot is the elusive dirt old senior citizen, potentially either dead in the drivers seat or just somehow harnessing the forces of gravity and wind to sluggishly pull and push the decades old Buick across the highway at turtle speed. The elder driver always exhibiting a posture significant of completely straight but tensed boney arms infused with cobweb laden hands forcefully gripping the steering wheel as if some unforeseen force will soon send the car rocketing down the highway at light speed. Not giving a single fuck about any other driver, this old bag of bones always seems to make it to point B.

It was with these reoccurring road sightings that I initially began to understand the purpose of advertisement; to appeal to these masses, these stereotypical, predicable, boring masses of humans. Keep the fat obese by advertising what they can't resist, keep the teenager's eyes off the road by enticing them with the latest and greatest must have shit. Keep the soccer moms oppressed with religious puff and keep the senior citizens alive by reminding them they're driving by any means possible. In a strange way, all this can and is done through advertisement.

The problem I began to ponder over the course of my daily commutes was that none of the endless highway advertising ever appealed to me in the way that it is seemingly designed to, rather the physical placement of billboards interested me. What might it look like standing at the edge of a tall billboard overhanging a rushing highway? Maybe I'll get lucky and witness a 50 car pile up, or more likely piss off a kit of nesting pigeons? Flashy billboard ads failed to hold my attention, instead I noticed ladders leading up into signs of all varieties, heights, designs and perspectives. Perspective is important, it's always a driving force behind anything I explore as I like to experience life from different views. Unique experiences take the monotony out of everyday living and instill a sense of newness in a lifestyle that can become all too bland. So with little time I began to see billboards as just another set of monkey bars existing within the playground that is the world. And so I found myself on top of billboards, climbing ladders, watching moving stereotypes from above.

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