Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gimme liberty!

Awesome. Truly truly awesome. I was in town today and I saw two people, both dressed up like the Statue of Liberty, dancing like crazy on opposite corners of one of the busiest intersections in the whole county.

The way it works is, stores hire people to stand on a corner & hold their big, bright arrow-shaped signs, pointing the public in the right direction for the lowest of low Sofa King Low Prices. There's the guy dressed up as a gorilla in October who stands on the corner by the temporary Halloween Store, and the kid dressed as a hamburger outside the new Sonic. It's supposed to draw the attention of the public, who will then rush the establishment with fists full of disposable income with which they can't wait to part.

I've seen it lots of times, and every time, I've thought, "How. Humiliating." But today, that thought was followed up with another, and I was kind of shocked by my own callousness.

Today, upon seeing the two dancing, breathing billboards, I thought, "How brave you must be to be standing and dancing on a corner with hundreds of cars passing you by, each full of people staring, pointing, laughing at you. Judging you and pitying you and putting themselves above you."

I admit, I'm every bit as guilty as the next driver of thinking how foolish they look. But I realized something. These people should be admired and respected simply for the fact that they are out there doing what it takes to get by. Not standing on a different street corner with a cardboard sign and a hungry-looking dog on a rope leash. Not sitting at home unwilling to leave shelter to go out and brave the weather to look for a job.

Then I asked myself, would you have the gumption to do such a thing? To take a job, any job, if that was what it took to survive? Knowing that you are being mocked, yet doing it anyway? It's a hard question, and it's even harder to answer. I guess you never know what you're capable of until you are forced to know.

These smiling, dancing, breathing advertisements are people doing what they have to do. And I think that is amazing.

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