Cheeky Monkey / by Courtney Mehlhaff

I'm not sure if I should admit this, because I think it may not speak well of my character, but what the hell. I love graffiti.  Not artsy stuff, like the occasional spray-paint masterpieces you'll see on the sides of train cars, and not simple tagging.  But give me a random ridiculous phrase or declaration scrawled haphazardly somewhere, and you've made my day.  Some real-life examples:

"BACON" inside a bathroom stall

"Bake These Nuts" on a bus shelter

"Go for the gusto!" on a bathroom door

"Hot Apple Cider!" on an electric box

"Crack rock steady!" on a wall

"Share the Toad" road sign

"Hot Tub Tony" on a bush shelter

"SLUR" on a bus seat

I'm sometimes torn.  Half of me thinks, "What a dick!"  But the other half of me thinks, "Well, they had something they felt they needed to say." And a small fraction of me usually wonders a) why they were carrying a bold marker, b) why they took the time to carve something into a wall, and c) how they managed to do it without anyone busting them.

And don't even get me started on posters featuring people's faces that end up with mustaches, blacked-out teeth, glasses and, in the best cases, devil horns.  While I'd be super pissed if my pricey advertisement were thusly defaced (pun intended), I am utterly delighted that the inclination to uglify people's pictures is such a universal thing.

The best version of this I've ever seen involved a bench along my bus route with a photo of a guy selling houses.  One morning, feeling tired and generally kind of depressed, I happened to look out the window at this particular stop.  Some genius had taken a poster from one of the recent Planet of the Apes movies, cut out just the section featuring the glaring stare of an evil chimpanzee, and pasted it over the realtor's eyes.  The effect was seamless and unsettling and easily the funniest thing I'd seen in ages.

I laughed the whole rest of the way to work, and life seemed a little less serious.  So to this petty criminal with a sassy sense of humor, I must say thank you, wherever you are. You saved me from going bananas.