Cheyenne is in music camp in Moorhead this week. I take her every morning and pick her up every afternoon via I-94. On the return trip each morning and afternoon I see one of those positive message billboards that have increasingly popped up along roadsides. This one says – Smile. Amazingly, every time I pass that billboard I smile involuntarily. Why is that?
I wonder if it is because my mother raised me to be a good Catholic girl and to comply with simple requests. The sign says smile, so I smile. One would think that a billboard with the word smile on it it is the equivalent of telling someone to smile, but telling someone to smile doesn’t always elicit a smile. Yet the billboard – the inanimate object that has absolutely has no control or influence elicits a smile out of me. Not sure why a billboard would get any better results than a person.
I must say though. I do love that the billboard is placed in a location that produces a smile right as you are preparing to cross over into North Dakota. Not that folks aren’t happy to be entering the state anyway, but the smile does increase the happiness visual.
I wonder if any one has ever done a study about these type of billboards. Do people actually have a nicer day after seeing a “Have a nice day!” billboard? Aside from good Catholic girls, do folks actually smile having seen the billboard in Moorhead? And if they do, does that one word on that one billboard change the trajectory of their attitude for an indeterminate period of time that day? If a billboard could do that it would be powerful.
Cheyenne only has two more days of music camp. It may be awhile until I see the smile sign again after this week. I’ll probably still smile fairly regularly even without a billboard telling me to do so, but I won’t be as curious about why I am smiling. That is the real curiosity about the billboard, how is it getting me to smile and did the folks who put it there realize it would have that effect? If this stuff works – let me know as I have a list of words I would like to support on billboards.
I surmise I should take the smile and not worry about how it came to be – I mean really, where’s the harm? At this point I am merely a nice Catholic girl smiling as she enters the beautiful state of North Dakota – some things should likely remain shrouded in their mystique…or in their idiocy (either way, you’ll know why I am smiling). 😉
Day seven hundred and seventy-two of the new forty – obla di obla da