Mr. Wrong By Joe MacLeod

Mr. Wrong: Light for all, on the LED Art Board and an impending colonoscopy

City Paper

I enjoy that giant electronic billboard up on Charles Street, in the, what is it, Station North, area? It’s a coupla blocks south of North Avenue? It used to be, for a million years, this gargantuan vertical billboard that for the longest time usually had this ad with the Natty Boh beer logo-head-guy getting down on bended stick-figure knee to present an engagement ring to the Utz Potato Chip girl, who I think is called “Suzy Utz,” or something, and other than it being sorta creepy that an ancient Alco- Symbol appeared to be getting ready to take on a Child Bride, I think it was a very successful moment in Advertising for whatever jewelry store it was that paid for it, and paid for it to stay up on that gigantor space for thousands of years, interrupted by only a few other ads, until it just became part of the landscape and kinda invisible-boring. The whole deal got replaced by this crazy electric sign, and it features local art and the art is like a slideshow—lotsa people have talked and argued about this already—there’s ads up there too, alternating with the art, and the stuff on it changes constantly, and I dig art, and I dig looking at ads if they are creative and compelling and nicely designed with nice art and photos, and I think part of the way this all works is the ads pay for the ars gratia artis being up there, so I think it’s kinda cool to see all the stuff, some of it by people I know, plus stuff I never saw before, plus a coupla times, stuff that I worked on for City Paper, all just out of context and famous, up on this enormous glowing board, day and night, and that’s a problem for a guy I know, who is an artist, and he lives near the billboard, and it drives him fucking crazy, he says, because at 3 o’ clock in the a.m. of the morning, that thing is blazing away, and it fucks up his view from his window. He didn’t want to write anything about it or for me to use his name, so I’m just telling you what he told me, which is that he thinks it’s intrusive and stifles his enjoyment of being able to look at the sky, and wishes they (and I believe They are Shanklin Media’s “LED Baltimore,” which I guess is Light-Emitting Diode Baltimore) would turn it off every once in a while, because it’s like having a giant TV screen running all the time, and that is one of my Hot Button Issues, man, when (even though I love TV) there’s one blasting away someplace where I want Eye-Peace, so I understand his complaint, and I doubt anybody’s gonna turn off that billboard, but I’m just putting it out there on my Pulpit, if you will, that there’s somebody out there who thinks it’s a 50-foot-tall pain in the ass.

Speaking of which, I am scheduled for a colonoscopy next week, and if I was on the Obamacare I could do that “Thanks Obama” joke, but I did not go through the Affordable Care Whatever Marketplace thing, although I looked at it when I was deciding what to do the last time I needed to get some Health Care, and it seemed OK, I dunno, I think it’s a good idea to force people to get Health Care, because if they don’t and they get in a car crash and you don’t know that they don’t want Health Care, you gotta do the Hippocratic thing and fix ’em up, and then if they’re all “hey man, I didn’t want any Health Care,” then We The People foot the bill, the same way we do now with the Poor and the Destitute and the Elderly on Fixed Income, and the Infirm, and the Afflicted, and the Disadvantaged, and the Physically Challenged, which I support, as a U.S. American who believes in America The Beautiful and the Statue of Liberty and all that stuff, but otherwise, you should pay for some damn Health Care, and you should get fined way more than they are doing now for people who don’t get it.

Getting back to my colon, though, I have undergone this procedure before, and there is an exhausting Preparatory Stage, and I will spare you the Details, suffice to say it’s gonna give me an opportunity to be Alone with my Thoughts, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. Last time, the night before I was scheduled to have a video camera jammed all up in there, I had to provide an empty hallway, if you will, so the Doctor could shine a flashlight down the alley and do some cinéma vérité, so in preparation I hadda glug down like a gallon of this awful fluid that tasted like Gatorade-flavored aspirin, and this time I gotta buy actual Gatorade to mix with some junk that will free my mind or whatever, but then I gotta take two sets of some other sorta pre-pill starting two days before they do the goddamn roto-rooter cam on me! What the fuck! My weekend will be ruined, and I’m not looking for sympathy or anything, this is just a routine Medical Procedure, but I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for books or magazines to read, because I’m gonna be in a total Reading Position, OK? Thank you. 


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