Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Truth in Advertising

On a recent trip up to the Mogollon Rim in Arizona, traveling on Highway 260 just two or three miles east of Payson, I passed through the lovely little hamlet of Star Valley. Basically, Star Valley is a suburb of Payson, where people are moving to escape the urban decay and evil trappings of metropolitan Payson. But I digress.

As I came around a bend in the road (as one is wont to do when traveling through the country), I spied a tall pole on the south side of the highway on which were affixed different signs advertising various business establishments. Occupying the very top of this pole was a rather sizable statue of a cow. (I am fairly certain it was a statue as it remained deathly still; not moving in the least, which is completely contrary to what you would expect a live cow to do with a large pole sticking in its belly.) This didn’t seem altogether odd until I read the sign immediately below the statue. Written in large, red letters (in an Old Western style font) on a white background with a red border were the words "Topless Cabaret".

Not being from Star Valley or Payson, I was a little bewildered by all of this. The possibilities that ran through my head were the following:

  • They had dancing cows that performed topless. This, of course, is the obvious conclusion, but it begs the question: "Do cows normally wear tops? If so, what would a topless cow look like?" I watched many years of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and I can honestly say that Marlin Perkins and Jim Fowler never did a story on a topless cow. Of course, those were more innocent times, and the moral standards of your average cow were much higher in those days. (I can remember when cats and dogs once thought it abhorrent to sleep in the same room.)
  • In some sort of bovine-inspired Ichabod Crane fantasy, the dancing cows actually have no heads. This seems far less likely than the first option given the fact cows aren’t known for being fleet of foot or extremely agile, and taking away their vision is not going to make them any more graceful. This would be choreography hell!
  • Lastly, the building itself has no roof. The more I pondered this option, the more it made sense. Unless the cows were house broken or wore diapers (which the latter would really cut down on the "show" factor for a cabaret atmosphere), it would be wise to have really good ventilation. And on those evenings when it’s raining, you instantly have the whole Flashdance thing going. Genius!

Being en route to a destination, I didn’t have time to stop, so I had to devote a great deal of mental energy to this . . . issue. Think of the thousands upon thousands of hours motorists like myself have wasted in either trying to figure out what the signage meant or stopping to see what was being advertised. (If you’re in the latter group, you should be ashamed of yourselves! You’re only encouraging good cows to be bad.)

Here’s my point: let’s be more clear in the "messages" we send. I’ll give you a perfect example: one day while driving on the freeway, I came upon a car driving in one of the middle lanes with its emergency flashers blinking. As I passed this car, I noticed the driver was a shriveled old man with Coke-bottle glasses and a bead of sweat painted across his upper lip. The message was clear: he was terrified to be driving, so give him a wide berth. Until I’m endowed with the authority to remove drivers from the road at my discretion, I can accept that.


Abigurl said...

haha. very interesting thoughts. i've read a few of your posts and i like your style of writing. i'll be checking back from time to time *smile*

Anonymous said...

You Missed the obvious. All the toppless dancers in Payson are fat. Thus the inferred name "fat cow pole danceing toppless cabaret"

nolan s said...

Having driven through Payson and Star Valley hundreds of times I too was shocked to see "topless cabaret" advertised in Star Valley. The sign....and accompanying establishment (unless it truly is some kind of joke) are fairly recent additions to the community. Progress? Star Valley is obviously challenged when it comes to prime commercial real estate. But topless dancing with a cow on the roof? Location, location, location? By the way, the cow has been there a long time. Just east of the cow on the roof is a block retaining wall about 8 foot tall (someone call Nashville - I've got this country music thing figured out!). At some point in the 80's someone painted a detailed mural on the wall of a scenic waterfall and stream deep in the forest. A paint pony drank water from the stream. At some point a little later in the 80's I stopped noticing the horse while passing by at 55 mph and started noticing the naked Indian maiden(think west not east) bathing in the waterfall. So in some strange way that short section of highway in East(ern) Star Valley played a role in my developing sexual awareness. And now this - topless dancing beneath a skewered cow! Things like this can steer (double meaning?) one's life in unexpexted directions. To date: 1) I love to eat cows! 2) my first wife was Indian (again west not east) and 3) when competing again Payson High School, I always thought their cheerleaders were quite attractive....Payson's mascot....The Longhorn's! Coincidence? I can only hope.