Dear Sign Twirlers Across the Nation,
Thank you. Thank you for your dedication to excellence. Thank you for your willingness to showcase your talents despite the constant judgment you face by drivers idling in their cars. Thank you for unassumingly embracing your placement on the mantle of cultural ubiquity, rightfully among the ranks of the Skip-it, overly-made up cafeteria ladies, and Rosie O’Donnell’s unsolicited opinions/Ryan Seacrest’s face.
As recent a phenomenon as you are, you have nonetheless captured the collective heart, mind, and intrigue of a nation. In a time when the national conscience yearns for stability, honesty, and accountability – merely one good thing that we can clutch in the midst of adversity – you show up each and every morning at our intersections. With your “CONDOS STARTING IN THE LOW 200s” sign firmly in hand, iPod headphones fit snugly in your ears, black sweatshirt draped casually over your torso, and your sense of duty seeded deep in your soul, you daily give your fellow brethren a hope for the future, for our future.
Though you come in several archetypes, each of your variations provides different reasons to be grateful for who you are and what you do.
To the apathetic high school skater sign twirler: Thank you for reminding us that we are all, at the core, lost and confused. We all wear Etnies of insecurity, spike our hair with the gel of denial, continually seek out skate DVDs of acceptance, and take advantage of that seemingly-totally sweet summer sign twirling job for $9.25 an hour of inevitable discontentment with our jobs. You are us, yet you have chosen to brave the prying eyes of the public to bare what the rest of us keep inside. Thank you, apathetic high school skater sign twirler.
To the aspiring high school sign twirler: You are a beacon of hope in the darkness of our days. Your aspirations, your perpetual self-belief, and your back acne cream shine through your sun-bleached hoodie, announcing to the world that you will be something someday, just as each of us will become something, regardless of our current location. You remind us that even though the scope of our current lives may not extend beyond 2 large pizzas, 2 2-liter sodas, and 2 orders of garlic breadsticks for $22, we are smack dab in the middle of the hustling intersection that is life-complete. We’ve much to offer the world (take an extra $2 off with a coupon from the sign twirler) and we have much yet to take from it (endless awe, occasional jeers, and the even-less occasional and misguided tip). Thank you aspiring high school sign twirler.
To the “are you a homeless guy holding a rectangular piece of cardboard or an actual sign twirler?” sign twirler: Sometimes, we, the public at large, needs to be reminded that a big “eff you!” to the establishment is okay. Your irreverent mindset toward societal expectations of hygiene and kempt-ness connects with the rebel in each of us, the one we work so hard to repress but deep inside know will continue to fight and struggle not only against society, but against ourselves. Your scruff, at-times standoffish, at-times even more standoffish-to-the-point-of-threatening exterior helps us remember that we are much more than our corporeal manifestations let on, that under the scraggly beard lies skin that is purer than a newborn’s, fresher than the first spring raindrop, and most likely without any sores. You twirl your sign to be who you are, not to show who you are. And with that lesson, we are better people.
To the exhibitionist sign twirler: Whereas complete drunkenness and subsequent lack of inhibition leave us hollow and lacking the morning after, you, the exhibitionist sign twirler, show us that we can let go of all social tethers to break dance, pop and lock, robot, awkwardly writhe, misguidedly macarena, and/or minimally toe tap to our heart’s delight. You bask in the attention we pay, yet it is attention well-deserved as we are simply awestruck at this sadly foreign concept of “feeling the groove” wherever we may find ourselves. Thank you, exhibitionist sign twirler, for teaching us how to run like children again, mindless of how others judge. Also, thank you for reminding us that some people can be total douchebags. Some of you just dance with the signs to show off and prove to everyone (read: me) how much better of a dancer you are, how much sweeter your moves are, and how many more chicks you can get, even when you’re flipping around a giant sign that’s advertising an everything-must-go sale. I guess your classiness and sportsmanship is up for grabs at up to 80% off, too.
Again, thank you sign twirlers. You represent what we do not yet know but recognize we need. You smell of dignity, passion, and dedication, and we cannot help but breathe in deep and full the aroma that lingers in the just-dried hair that is your daily shift. We can but only hope to be mere shadows of your lives. Thank you.