Shouts From The Abyss stars yours truly as a self-proclaimed guru of negativity, given (purloined) a blog which serves as a metaphorical highway where daily poop bullshit is dispensed to The Reader.
The parallels are uncanny.
Hell, I’m just like Johnny Appleseed only slightly different. And, like Mr. Appleseed, I’ve got places to go and things to do. For that I will, occasionally, use a highway.
Highway to Hell was a rockin’ little ditty by AC/DC.
One thing is for sure: That’s a lot of highways! And the other day I was on one of them.
Verily I say unto you, the highways shall be covered with billboards and they shall be legion but do not be tempted by the advertising messages contained therein lest thou’st risk thy immortal soul for they are abomination.
—The Book of Guru, Transportation Chapter
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. A serendipitous journey dappled with billboards containing messages like “Eat at Joe’s” and “Billboard Space Available.” Hell, who wouldn’t appreciate a journey like that? God forbid that even during the act of driving we might temporarily forget that the world is 24/7 after our wallets.
As we settled in for the long haul on our road trip to the big city, I began to notice certain trends in the billboard messages. About half were dedicated the information about roadside business that were “only X miles away.”
I paused to consider the possibility that anyone during the history of time had ever been swayed by a billboard to make a purchase. One billboard had a message about a certain model of Ford. How often does that work, I wondered. “Hey! That car looks hotter than the one I’m driving right now. Pull over at the next exit. I’m going to buy one of those things. The rest of this trip will be completed in style!”
Another type of billboard I occasionally saw was of the “don’t drink and drive” variety. A good message to be sure. But, I couldn’t help wonder about its effectiveness. Who was the target audience? People who were already driving under the influence? I highly doubted they’d even notice the signs in the first place much less head the do-gooder messaging contained therein. Plus, if they’re already driving the wrong direction on the highway they wouldn’t even be able to see the signs, right? I speculated that most of those signs should probably be facing the other direction to have a shot in hell.
I knew billboards were offensive, stupid and ugly, and I also highly doubted they worked. At all. Surely for there to be any chance of an advertiser getting their money’s worth it would have to be the roadside business variety of message. Yes, I think I will pull over for a Double Double at In-And-Out. Thanks for giving me the idea.
The billboards themselves seemed to speak to their lack of effectiveness. About one third of them proudly proclaimed that they were “available.” Damn slut billboards! “Your message could be here.” Wow. Where’s my notepad? I gotta write that phone number down. I wonder how much it would cost to tell everyone else on the highway to go fuck themselves? That would be an investment worth making.
Of course, as a human, there’s absolutely no way I can remember the phone number to call and I’ll likely drive off the road and Darwin myself while trying to write that number down. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to work?
Lastly, there was a third type of billboard message that finally pierced my awareness. I’m talking about, of course, something every weary highway traveler needs to hear about. Jesus.
“Got church yet?”
Congregations of people actually get together and decide this is a wise way to spend their money? What a racket. “We’ll now hear from the Spread The Word committee. They’ve been hard at work brainstorming new and exciting ways to get our message out. So, what did you come up with? A billboard? Jesus Christ!”
For some reason, people who are religious seem to think that highway billboards are the way to go. That, in and of itself, basically tells me everything I need to know about organized religion. Logic fail! And yes, you don’t have to remind me. I know the atheists have their billboards, too. Hey, nobody’s perfect. They’re probably just trying to fight fire with fire.
Then came The One. The billboard that showed me the way. There I was, just a poor sap driving a vehicle on a road, desperately trying to keep my mind focused and mindful on the task of driven when a mere moment of distraction could kill us all. Then I saw it. The One.
It was a billboard. It asked a question. “What if you died tonight?” My. What a lovely sentiment. Thank you so much for bringing that up. I didn’t really want to concentrate on the task of driving. Thank you for curing me of my boredom!
It concluded with two simple words. “Heaven? Hell?”
Yes, let he who is in his fossil-fuel-combustion-engine-conveyance and spewing pollution into the atmosphere ponder this weighty question as he drives merrily along his way. Are you saved? Are you
walking driving the one true path? Are you living your life in such a way that you’ll be ready to partake of everlasting glory at a moment’s notice? Or will you be deemed unworthy and sent to slowly twirl on a spit and roast in your own juices for all eternity?
The question was too much for me to ponder while driving. My brain is simply not capable of that level of multitasking. As I struggled to reason with the question I slowly drifted off the road and my car bounced viscously then took quite a tumble. Laws, yes.
The last thing I remember was exploding in a big ball of fire. Fitting? Perhaps. I finally had an answer to the big question. Thank you, offensively religious billboard!!! I owe you one.