Wandering the streets of Rhodes’ extraordinary medieval city, I am confronted by an old nemesis; the tagger. When you spray your name across the trains, or bridges or my neighbor’s garage, I am (frankly) indifferent. But I find that there’s nothing like a carelessly scrawled ‘Neville woz here’ on places of beauty, works of art or historical treasures to really get my goat .
Sure, travelling does make your own insignificance abundantly clear. Knowing that eons of peons have toiled to make this beautiful old castle and watching history stretch out before you with the millions, or possibly billions of people who have passed this place is enough to make even the most stoic among us feel somewhat small. Well buck up man! Resist, dear traveler, at all costs the urge to make your mark on the world by smearing your name on something beautiful.
While carving ‘Neville luvs Liz’ into an ancient tree or a historic tombstone may get you laid, passersby will not marvel at your ingenuity or spunk. We will not think to ourselves: “Wow, that Neville, what a guy.” Instead, we are thinking: “Neville you utter arse. Thank you for ruining a perfectly good tombstone with your need to mark your territory.”
Now I’m not picking on the graffiti artist; the disenfranchised, the bullied, alienated or otherwise ‘justly pissed off at the powers that be’. These prophets of the subways, concrete bridges and even my neighbors ill-fated garage are artists that inspire or make me think. They are constructive, not destructive. I’m speaking here to the Neville’s of the world who write only their names in a kind of ‘I tag therefore I am’ attempt at notoriety.
If you must immortalize yourself, do so through dashing acts of bravery, beauty or brilliance. Or at very least, donate enough money to the botanical society for them to dedicate a park bench to you. Then everyone who needs to take a rest, sleep off a hangover or have an al fresco tryst will whisper: “Thank you Neville… what a guy!”
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