At some point in most people’s lives, they receive an unlabeled manila envelope in the mail. They open the envelope only to find an unmarked VHS tape. Then they struggle to find their VHS player underneath a bunch of stuff in the junk closet. They play the tape.
A sophisticated man in a tweed jacket with a pipe tucked in the pocket introduces himself. He explains to the viewer that also in the envelope is a check for $50,000. The catch is that the money has to be spent within one month and it can’t be used for charity, vehicles, electronics, clothing, Internet investments, advertising for the intent of profit, food, home repairs or upgrades, education, medical bills, or gifts for other people. The man in the video admits that he really liked the 1985 movie Brewster’s Millions which he is basically stealing the concept from, just on a smaller budget.
When that day comes in my own life, I have already decided how I will spend the $50,000. Though the rules clearly stated I can’t use the money for advertising with the intent of profit, it didn’t mention advertising with no intentions of profit. I would purchase “deep thinking” billboard signs. The content of the sign would be designed to encourage deep thinking and healthy conversation for passers-by.
The first idea I have for a billboard would be one that said, “There are 3 words in the English language that end in ‘gry’. ‘Hungry’ and ‘angry’ are the first 2. What is the third one?” This is a riddle someone got from an e-mail forward back in 1998 that they read to me. After several years of trying to figure it out, I realized that there must be no 3rd word. So that would probably make a pretty good billboard to keep people’s minds going.
I have mentioned before that I want to punch teenage boys in the face that wear those annoying, pointless, attention-grabbing t-shirts that can be found in the $9 section at Wal-Mart. Smart Alec comments like “I’m out of my mind. Be back tomorrow.” Or the shirt that has a camouflage design but has neon orange letters that say “You can’t see me”. However, there are some I made up that would work pretty well on a billboard. To be driving down the interstate, and see a billboard that reads “What?” Or “You tell me.” That would be alright.
But my favorite billboard to try out would be one with a giant pickle where the middle had been hollowed out with a knife. The caption would read: “Welcome to Pickle Holler.” This would cause people to engage in a healthy debate with others in the car. Some would say it means that they are passing through a country neighborhood called Pickle Hollow but because of the cultural language difference the word “hollow” is pronounced “holler”. Others would realize that the picture is a play on words because the pickle has been hollowed out.