Kissing the Gator

1. Do You Feel Free?? It was going to be the title of this post – but Kissing the Gator elbowed it aside. (You can find out why further down.)

How does this graffiti make you feel? Puzzled? Reflective? Called to action? Annoyed (especially if it’s your garage door)?

I saw it the other day behind some shops. It makes me think smugness. The person who sprayed it is smug.

What about this next one? A step or two too far?

I saw it in a pub in Oxford – the interestingly named Black Boy – I think it has been considerably spruced up since I was last in. You may have to squint to read the light coloured graffiti.

The condom machine in the toilet had a warning on it: “Warning. This machine is protected by an electronic alarm.” Beside it, someone has written: “So was the World Trade Centre.”

What do you reckon? Just plain offensive? Anti-American? Or a pertinent comment on how we can become complacent or over reliant on technical solutions? I don’t know if the machine is still there. I suspect not. But seeing it has always stuck in my mind.

There is more below here. But if you’re a new visitor you may as well STOP NOW.The rest is is aimed at readers of the previous post Euphemisms for…Ahem… You know. And there’s something else beyond that again, and something funny. But if you’re a newbie – IT’S NOT FOR YOU.

2. I was going to call this post: Do you feel free?? But I was so overwhelmed by the response to the post about euphemisms for death that I changed my mind. In honour of timeforthorns, it is named after her Florida cracker of a euphemism for death – “kissed the gator” – a phrase I will now incorporate into my own vocabulary. So thanks thorns.

And thanks also to you other guys for your contributions – to samhenry for the Woody Allen vids, to Tim Footman for John Le Mesurier‘s self-penned death notice, and to Baino, souldipper, ohmykozy, smartmouthlittlebitch and thebigshowatud for your euphemisms too.

I’m with you rebekahgoldman when death comes knocking close to home or on friends. Best to speak clearly then – and more importantly to speak and listen. The euphemisms take a back seat. As Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson says, sometimes you just can’t laugh about it.

Maybe ziabaki is right. It’s not a north/south thing. It depends on how much of it you see. If it’s so in your face, so prevalent, happening so young – then perhaps it’s impossible to hide even behind humour.

But good idea from willowmonroe – handing out chocs to sweeten the memory. I’m sure there’ll be no need to sweeten people’s memories of you, but chocolate boosts morale at times of stress and sadness. (Just so long as it’s not instead of alcohol at your wake.)

‘And then, in a surprise move, she died’. Thanks exileimaging – it makes it sound like a career move, which, if she was a musician or a film star, it could have been.

Big up also to tonguelessghostofsin (what a name),  Barbara, the Success Ladder, aravan, TaylorGooderham, Maxi, lizcwilliams, crmhaske, Kat Richter, MintyCrunchyBubbleGum (but will you know who among them is a virgin and who is not? can you just tell?), jasmeet1566 and gaelikaa.

3. Reverse psychology

I once produced a radio slot called the Special Half Hour. It could have easily been called the Secret Half Hour. It happened between half past midnight and one o’clock in the morning – and it reinvigorated a radio dead zone. It’s cult success was partly (well, massively) to do with the presenter Richard Bacon but also because we went to great lengths to keep the new slot secret.

We sabotaged attempts to publicize the slot, we talked journalists out of giving it good reviews, we stole the first two rules of the SHH from Fight Club. “The first rule of the SHH is you do not talk about the SHH.” (You can guess the second rule.) This even applied to friends telling friends, husbands telling wives, sisters telling brothers. The strict rule was that only people listening while it was live on air could be allowed to know about it.

This led to difficult queries from SHH listeners, like the man who signed the show dialogue to his deaf wife as they lay in bed after midnight. He now put his hands down on the stroke of half past midnight for fear of breaching SHH rules one and two. After an on air discussion we may have given him a special dispensation to continue.

SHH members could also recognise each other on the street thanks to discreet subtle little badges. But they could never give away the secret to non-members.

The result of all this counter intuitive secrecy was to make the secret slot a huge hit. (And bizarrely, despite being axed eight months ago, the fan pages appear to be carrying on regardless. They, sniff, don’t need us anymore, sniff sniff. That’s me crying by the way.)

A bit like when you warn your child that, whatever they do, they’d better not go gnawing on that wholesome good-for-you cucumber as soon as I turn my back. What? Is that not how everyone gets their kids to eat fruit and vegetables?

Which roundabout way brings me to this question for new visitors to this blog: What are you doing reading this far down when I told you not to? Reverse psychology, ain’t it great?

Oh, go on then. And if you’re having a suboptimal day, this is to let you know that you’re not the only one.

More on the weatherman’s entertaining track record here.



Filed under life, media

12 responses to “Kissing the Gator

  1. A very enjoyable read to start my Friday. Thanks, Paul! As for the graffiti, it always annoys me (but I’m old and easily annoyed) when some smug hooligan defaces property to express their opinion. Why can’t they just do what the rest of us do, and start a blog? Let’s all have an optimal day today, shall we?

    • blackwatertown

      Optimal will include – no rain, finding the tent, and the pegs, some food, getting it all into the car, locating and lifting and laying all children, and no-one else ringing the doorbell – then perhaps I will reach this weekend’s music festival today. Hopefully when I next check out these comments – the blog will remain unsuspended and I’ll be in a field.
      I may even be outstanding in my own field. (Sorry. Very old one.)

  2. Pingback: Latest Kissing Guide Auctions |

  3. crmhaske

    1. I suppose he has a point since as we aren’t an anarchy we aren’t technically free. Sort of irrelevant though because if we were all truly, truly free, we wouldn’t survive for very long as a species. I think the graffiti on the condom machine is also irrelevant because having an electronic alarm is irrelevant when the attack is coming from outside. That said – I think we do rely way too much on technology. Big example: the stock market. It’s essentially computers trading with computers. One lost bit and the stock market crashes – sheesh.

    3. I lol’d at the video 😛

  4. You went to Fleadh? Sorry, distracted by the comments. Not a fan of graffiti but don’t mind street art, were you drinking when you wrote this hahaha!

    • blackwatertown

      I have just one little incident with a bottle and a keyboard – just once – and now you presume I’m liquored up whenever I post anything. Sheesh.

  5. scrappedout

    Thanks for visiting my blog recently. Loving your blog, must now add to my reader. I have to agree that graffiti is completly annoying and rude. I understand the need to express oneself but maybe a better option would be side walk chalk graffiti?

  6. Maybe The Condom Machine Thingy was a cheaper form of contraception ? The Scribe scribbled until the mood passed……….?
    Maybe That’s What I Will Request For My Funeral? Free Condoms For The Mourners!

  7. On the subject of graffiti, as someone who likes to think of himself as an artist, I’ve always had a quiet admiration for the good ones, Above, Banksy and their ilk. There was a great one spraypainted on a construction site wall near where I used to live that read, “Imagine waiking (sic) tomorrow and all the music had disappeared”. Really made me think. Specifically it made me think, “That’s not very likely.”

  8. “Kissed the Gator” … forgot about that one. You know, maybe a bottle at the keyboard once in a while ain’t a bad idea.

    A Florida Cracker

  9. TaylorGooderham

    Graffiti can be pretty interesting, when done right. Some amazing artwork has been done with it. Some clever things happen with it (such as “toilet tennis”, which is always fun to do), but a lot of it is rubbish and uncreative. Especially those damn bubble letters.
    A good read, however late I am to see it.

  10. You made some nice points there.

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