This mailbox - an artifact and emblem of 2002 America - still stands today. For all I know, it gets emptied every week.
Every now and then you go to a foreign country and you see a sign that is kind of funny and you self-consciously take a photo like a big dumb tourist and then you go home and stick the photo on your fridge. Eventually it winds up on your blog.
Seven years ago, Target got into some hot water for selling caps and shorts embroidered with the number '88'. The letter H is the eighth letter of the alphabet; in the coy semaphore or neo-Nazism, '88' stands for 'Heil Hitler'. Now Target sells Kramer t-shirts. In the wake of the '08 election, is racist apparel going to grow so meta that you'll eventually need some sort of decoder ring just to detect the presence of a white supremacist? Whatever happened to red Doc Martens with the laces tucked inside out?
When I lived on Mulberry street in Richmond, my next door neighbor was a big burly paramedic dude. One day he came by and said he had a stack of paramedic magazines he was going to throw away. Did I want them? The offer seemed too good to be true, so I played it cool. "Sure," I said nonchalantly. "Why not?"
I spent that entire afternoon poring over the stack, wondering why providence had smiled on me so. Every page of every magazine offered some treasure from the bizarro world of first responders; requests for victims of specific crashes involving specific vehicles; classifieds pleading for labor in Saudi Arabia; ads featuring every possible injury to the human body. This particular photo - I can't remember the product it hawked - seemed tailor made for the cover of one of my band's records.
But I never did the use this photo, which was probably for the best. It's kind of harsh.