Monday, September 6, 2010

That Perfect Graffiti

I was just pumping gas into my car a little while ago, and I noticed something etched into the plastic face plate on the pump, hovering over the ever increasing digital tally of gallons and dollars relating to my gas purchase. There were quite a few nonsense-looking tagged etchings in the plastic that looked like they were scrawled messily with a relatively clunky carving instrument (this was no professional etching needle, of which I own 2 or 3 from my intaglio days). Maybe someone used a knife or a sharp key. I almost dismissed it upon cursory first glance but then, scrawled and imperfect as it was with its uneven squarish letters (because, of course, it's hard to carve letters with curves accurately with an awkward instrument), it caught my eye. Scrawled into this foggy, once upon a time fully transparent, plastic were the words "SUTKO HOUT." Without knowing it (I assume), the author of this graffiti, defacer of private property, has elegantly coined a name that would be suitable for an album, a fashion line, or a European diplomat.

While this graffiti gave me pleasant pause, I hesitate to call it "that perfect graffiti." But it was pretty good, you have to admit. It has, however, reminded me of some graffiti I saw a few months back, which I do wish to don with the title of that perfect graffiti.

One beautiful Saturday this past spring, my husband, son, and I were tromping around the grounds surrounding a local lake here in Dallas. As we walked, we came upon a wooden bridge over a large stream where lots of ducks were swimming. We'd brought some old bread with us (hoping to happen upon ducks), so we stopped to feed them. As we tossed our bread chunks over the side of the bridge to the swimming scavengers below, we noticed some Sharpie-written graffiti on the rail of the bridge.

"I love ducks."

Charming. Someone who (1) cared so little about his/her surroundings so as to scrawl on them in the midst of peaceful, clean, nature (2) was so enamored with the ducks that he/she felt the need to prominently declare it in permanent ink on the nearest thing he/she could write on. While I am often annoyed at graffiti (especially when it's not especially artistic, with my distaste being highly variable depending upon where the graffiti has been scrawled), I could not help but be ticked by "I love ducks."

Graffiti, inappropriate as it may be, can sometimes be a little star in the dark.