Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The North Shore Billboard War

It's getting ugly out there in billboard land. Are people sick of summer already? My theory is that hospitality workers are taking out their stress on these billboard as they return for one or two more weeks of crazy time.

I-35 is the artery that feeds the North Shore. Every day hundreds or thousands of Twin Citians, starved for blueberry pie, a wild hike, or a view of a distant horizon, head up the Interstate to Lake Superior. A slew of billboards between Forest Lake and Hinckley have been set up to drive those tourists to select destinations.

Those oh-so-clever people in Grand Marais nailed a fake herring gull to their billboard. And "someone" stole the bird. Now they're offering a "reward," with the rather tacky phrase "We just want someone to give us the bird." Do they really want someone to make an obscene gesture in the general direction of the Lake Superior Trading Post?

My theory is that it was one of the hard-working guest workers from Eastern Europe who could just not stand another guest demanding hotel Wi-Fi that reaches to Artists Point.

So what's next?

Will a stressed-out dishwasher from Lutsen steal the caribou statue from Great Lakes Aquarium and jam it splashing into the picture of Caribou Highlands' outdoor pool?

Maybe a Glensheen Mansion summer tour guide will get sick of the Congdon murder questions. I can think of, but would rather not share here, felonious objects that might be added to or stolen from the Glensheen billboard.

Perhaps some lifeguard tired of cleaning bubblegum from the waterslide strainers would appreciate a (removable) moustache on that pony-tail girl at the Edge.

Hang in there, North Shore workers! Kids are back in school and the best few weeks of summer are ahead. Destroying billboards was fun for Edward Abbey, but will not look good on your resume.

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