These words are graffitied on the boarded up and winterized concessions stand down at the lakefront just south of Belmont harbor. It looks like someone tried to clean off the words Do right and Be good at some point and then someone else came along and spray painted Love over the top of the result. It always makes me smile when I see it though. Such happy graffiti. So positive and uplifting. In spite of the ironic fact the graffiti artist who wrote Do right and Be good was doing neither when he or she decided to spray paint those encouraging words of wisdom on someone else's property.
"Why do people do graffiti?" one of my sons once asked me.
"Heck if I know," came my reply. "I guess they just want to be heard or to leave their mark, somehow."
It seems there should be a better way to do it. I personally have never once wanted to spray paint anything in my life, except for maybe the metal patio chairs, but I don't think that should count. Although I guess I must admit to attempting to write, I don't even remember what, on some wet sidewalk cement we came across down at college late one night - until the owner, lying in wait in his car in his garage - flashed his headlights on when we stopped and bent down in front of our prospective canvas. He should have let me at it, because he must have fallen asleep or left his post at some point. Walking past later, I saw someone had managed to leave their message. And it wasn't Love or Be good.
Maybe graffiti artists don't have moms who fussed and fawned over every scribble on construction paper that came home from school. Maybe they just like the thrill of getting away with it. I don't know. I do know it's sometimes hard to be heard in this world. I think this must be why I blog. Most days I can't get the attention of a single person in my household unless I raise my voice, wave my hands frantically over my head or impersonate a Wii controller.
Whatever the reason graffiti artists do what they do, and no matter how wrong we may think it is, I still take pleasure in seeing those inspirational words down at Belmont Harbor. Because if you must try to be heard or leave your mark, even if it's illegal and wrong, I guess it's best to at least try to be an inspiration instead of profane. So with that in mind, I leave you with:
Love. Be good. Do right.
Oh, and Be Kind, too. Because I found this today down near the theater by Fullerton.