Whether this campaign has any impact on our littering problem remains to be seen, but the billboards are ready to roll.
Keep Akron Beautiful’s anti-littering contest has multiple winners. KAB decided to give away two $100 gift cards and produce two different boards, both of which will be displayed throughout the city starting this month.
Avid readers of this column will remember every detail of the contest. For the other 100 percent of you ... KAB wanted to localize a national anti-littering campaign it participated in last year called “Littering is Wrong.” That campaign featured billboards with things most folks believe just ain’t right:
“Networking at a funeral.”
“Proposing on a blind date.”
“Tattooed typos” (featuring a drawing of a guy whose tatt reads “Mohter”).
The local folks figured we could come up with plenty of no-nos unique to Akron. Given the subject matter — litter — they immediately thought of your favorite columnist, who agreed to publicize and help judge the contest.
The competition was fierce. Among the top entries:
“Zippy cheering for the Flashes” (submitted by Janine Pavkov).
“Calling Akron a suburb of Cleveland” (Cari Miller).
“Running radar at the Soap Box Derby” (Patti Howell).
“Believing Black Keys are only on a piano” (or similar from both Cari Miller and Adam Staller).
“Driving clockwise in a roundabout” (Kevin Tucker).
Good ones all. But to this judge, none of those quite brought home the unique feel of Akron as well as this:
“Not looking up when the blimp flies by.”
Nothing says “Akron” more than the blimp. And failing to look skyward after hearing the unique drone of the blimp’s engines is indeed an Akron atrocity.
At least that was my reasoning. And that’s why Sherryl Owen of Cuyahoga Falls is now $100 richer.
The retired nurse and decorative painter has “lived in this area my whole life, and it’s just a fact of life, having the blimps around.”
Like most of the rest of the world, the 62-year-old Falls High and University of Akron grad has never been in a blimp but has always wanted to be.
Owen and her husband of 40 years, Steve, have had any number of blimps fly directly over their house — and they still look skyward every time.
“When [the contest idea] came to me,” she says, “I thought, ‘Gosh, what’s more Akron than the blimp?’ ”
The folks at Keep Akron Beautiful were so enthralled by a second entry that they are handing another $100 to Patti Howell of West Akron, who came up with “Removing the marathon blue line” — another move that would clearly engender bad karma.
Several other entries were intriguing but a bit too edgy for an ad campaign in which you are trying to win over the broadest possible audience. Case in point: “Taking your talents to South Beach” (Nicholas Hakim).
KAB’s rules prohibited anything containing a business name, eliminating entries such as “Getting a Swenson’s Galley Boy without the special sauce” (Brady Marks).
KAB officials say everyone who entered will get a “Littering is wrong, too” drink koozie.
When your koozie wears out, just toss it out the window of your car.
Bob: After a recent $1,300 run-in with two craters and their ejected contents on an exit ramp from the [Akron] Innerbelt, my husband and I pondered the origin of the terms “pothole” and “chuckhole.”
The former might refer to an opening large enough to contain a cooking container. But what is a chuck? And why would it have a hole?
Are these colloquialisms unique to our area, like ‘Devil’s Strip,’ or limited to sections of the country that routinely incur pavement damage from freeze/thaw?
We agreed that if anyone might determine the reason we use these terms for road hazards, it would be our favorite learned journalist, Bob Dyer.
Kaye & Mike Stoneking
Kaye and Mike: Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place. The “chuckhole” got its name because it is big enough to contain Charles Barkley.
Bob: It’s said that Goodyear’s new rigid airship, soon to fly the skies, includes a bathroom — and you can see out of it.
Do you suppose that means when you lift the lid and look down you see the clouds, kind of like the train cars in the old days?
Sounds like there’s a new product line for Goodyear to market: blimp umbrellas. Their slogan could be: “Look out below!”
Craig: You are a sick individual. I admire that in a reader.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.