If I Were King – Graffiti

By WR Jones


    On our Sunday walk of 7 or 8 miles, we have a stretch of river that passes behind an apartment complex.  There is a bridge over the river just after the apartments.  Every week there is new graffiti.  Every week I say the same thing to my wife – “why the hell don’t they put up cameras, and motion activated lights?”

    Instead they fight a losing battle of painting it over.  Last week I saw they gave up even trying to match the paint color of the building.  The city paints over the mess on the bridge and they do a pretty fair job but they too can’t keep up.   These young taggers have more energy than old Juan and Carlos (who’s lives have been threatened) who paint over the apartment.

   One Sunday we saw a boy of about 10 or 12 tagging the bridge.  I borrowed a phone from another couple walking by us and called the police.   I told the dispatcher a boy was tagging near the bridge over the river to the park.  He asked if I could give him a street name.  Huh?  You work for the city and do not know where the park is?  I ask him (the dispatcher) where the hell was he answering the phone from?   He was in a rather distant city –  OK, screw it, I’m glad I wasn’t being stabbed.


         1.  Humane –  put up portable cameras on highly tagged areas.  Man the cameras and send the police.  You can fine – most probably the family – enough to pay for the cameras and personel.   When tagging drops way off you can shut down the operation until it gets bad again.   After you take everything a family has including the shirts off their backs, mom and dad may pay a little more attention to what junior is up to.

         2.  My answer –  License snipers and pay a bounty for taggers.  The snipers would have to be highly trained for safety.  This could, for example, be good offduty income for members of SWAT.  The sniper would have to film the entire sequence leading upto and including the shooting.   If he/she makes a mistake and shoots some innocent kid, he/she will face prosecution, unless the kid is really ugly.

Note:  We found two spray cans of paint in the bushes by the high school last Sunday.  We picked them up to throw in the trash.  I accidentally pressed the button on one of them; the Devil took my hand, spraying my initials on that wall, and the side of that 18 wheeler, the train, the new restaurant, and the neighbors house.   There IS a thrill seeing your work up like that.   More people will see that painting in a day than come to the blog in 2 or 3 generations.

This entry was posted in Humor, Painting, Rants. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to If I Were King – Graffiti

  1. carolking says:

    Bill, you are on a roll! And I don’t mean a tootsie roll.

    Recently in the news here there was a story about a man who took a picture with his cell phone camera of a kid scratching graffiti into the window of a subway car. (scratchiti) The good citizen sent the picture to the police and voila! the kid was arrested! Since you seem to have quite a bit of free time, I suggest you get yourself a fancy camera with a long lens, a tripod, some camorflage outfits and just hide out in the bushes with your paint and easel. You can combine your plein air painting with some sharp eyed good samaritanism.

    I am not charging for this advice.

  2. carolking says:

    Oh, and I love the painting that goes with today’s story. I GOT MY EYE ON YOU TOO!

  3. My husband says they should invent something to imbed in the walls that detects spray paint AND SPRAYS BACK!! He’s imagining taggers getting tagged…. running green faced, and red handed away from the scene…
    Think it would work??

    HEY YOU… I know you and Lisa have been tagged by me and at least two other people…
    Come on you two… GIVE!

  4. Bill – Hilarious! As soon as my ex gets back into the country (currently working in Afganistan – hum…you’d think he’d learn. The last time he worked out of the country for 12 months his wife met a biker….)I’ll have him send you his resume.

  5. wrjones says:

    Carol – thanks for the wonderful free advice. I think I will not try to play policeman anymore. I overheard two employees planing to rob a computer firm I worked for. I told the head of HR and he promised to keep my name out of it. The next thing I know I’m being called into the president’s office to face the two with the president saying, “Alright, Bill says you two are planning to rob us, is that true?”

    Marian – I’m more of an exposive device type. I want them dead not taxing the court system.

    Cara – so he is off getting more very realistic training for the job ahead. I’m sure you dumped him for a very nice biker but the rest of us owe him a very big thanks for the sacrafice he is making.

  6. jalapfaff says:

    Was that a painting of just an eye, or did it come from a larger (perhaps even an ENTIRE FACE) painting? Whichever it is, it looks really cool.

  7. jalapfaff says:

    Lisa–I LOVE the little football pants too.

  8. Bill – He’s a swell guy, I still miss him believe it or not. I always did have and always will have the greatest admiration for what he does. Gratitude aside, he earns a ton of tax free money when on these adventures so his sacrifice is well compensated…trust me…

  9. bonnieluria says:

    In between your civic sense of duties, your political remedies, your observations of human frailties and shortcomings, wise cracking narratives, and obviously some form of income production, when, oh when do you have time to paint?

    And so well!!!!!

    You got a good eye there Bill.
    Is there another one on the other side of the face?

  10. kevmoore says:

    Right Bill…

    All new aerosol cans should come with a four digit security unlock code, that will only be given to adults over 30. Any juvenile crackhead who buys one and attempts to spray without entering the code will trigger a nail bomb built into the can. I predict tagging will fall off dramatically (along with body parts)
    Wanna hear my plans for health care?

  11. You know what they do to snitches around here Bill?

    Actually, I can never figure why they paint over them. It just gives a nice clean canvas for the next tag. If someone would come paint over my paintings each day I wouldn’t have to keep buying these expensive panels.

    Nice eye by the way.
    I am interested in seeing your responses to the tag as well.

  12. wrjones says:

    Jala – thanks. No other eye, just the one. I’m trying various body parts on different backgrounds to see the effect of painting/glazing. This was on a grey background. Don’t be lazy and leave comments for Lisa here. She won’t see them and I won’t tell her.

    Cara – I doubt he is over compensated for what he is doing. How much would you take to risk your life? Not movie stuff but for real.

    Bonnie – I honestly don’t get very much time to paint. Except for a couple of weeks a year when I go to workshops or off on my own, I get from 3 to 5 hours a week to paint. I got tired after one eye and went off to drink.

    Kev – this is an excellent idea – you are in my cabinet too. And yes, absolutely I want to hear the healthcare plan.

    Frank – graffiti is an absolute cancer. I really don’t understand why the city does not employ cameras to try to put a little dent in this problem.
    For some of the graffiti you really are taking a big chance in intervening. Since the government won’t let me carry a weapon I will leave it up to them to solve the problem. They are doing such an excellent job, don’t you think?

  13. It is kind of like littering vertically.

  14. Bill, I like your watchful eye! Does it see any graffiti happening? Holly p.s. I vote for the humane approach.

  15. bonnieluria says:

    Bill- while you wait for my next painting, take a look at this site to see some creative wall art outdoors.
    It may soothe your graffiti rage.
    Some pretty creative stuff here-


  16. kimiam says:

    It wasn’t me. It was the one-armed-man.

  17. wrjones says:

    Oh, Kimiam – I know you feel the need to stick to your story. I’ve always admired a liar that prized consistancy. We can get you help. Elevate your feet and talk to me about that first popcycle stick you chucked into the neighbor’s yard.

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