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"Hi, I'm The Sign Guy."

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For quite some time i was one the guys responsible for illegally installing 200-400 promotional signs on people's property throughout the city (aka street spamming) while i simultaneously monitored 15 "signwalkers" spread out within proximity at various big intersections and freeway off-ramps. A signwalker is a person who is standing on a street corner holding a 10 ft. sign that will direct traffic to the sale we're promoting that particular weekend.

You have to understand, normal people do not signwalk. Ask yourself if YOU would do it? Probably not. It appealed mostly to either kids under 16, the homeless, the drug addicted, parolees, halfway-housers, people on unemployment or disability trying to cheat the system, and those who insisted on working where they can chain smoke or dance all day long. It meant a lot of firing and hiring, and finding people on the spot when someone wound up arrested, drunk, missing, or just didn't show up to begin with.

We had only a few rules for our signwalkers. No booze, take your break when we tell you to, point the arrow the correct direction, and you have to STAND and actually HOLD the sign. So no sitting down, and no strapping the sign to a pole with your belt. You would be amazed at how hard it was for these people to accomplish all of these things. Sometimes they couldn't follow ANY of the rules, to which i responded with, "YOUR FIRED!"

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I'd drive up on someone and see them sitting down, and tell them to get up, only to hear them complain that their legs were tired. My answer? "Ok, if you can't stand up, you're fired. I'll give you the money for the time you worked. We need someone who's legs aren't tired," and of course that would make them act right.

The job was cool because i was by myself in my car, and as long as i got my work done, i could do whatever else i wanted. Smoke weed, go on a ghetto safari, take pictures of weird shit, talk to my friends on the phone, go to the local Target, go skateboarding, whatever. I just had to be close enough to the sale to handle business if some shit went down. most of the time i just got stoned and took naps, with my engine running a steady stream of AC on my face. Also it paid a crap ton of money, i worked 3 days a week, and was making just under 6 figures.

The job sucked because i was always working on the weekends, i had to deal with dreggs dropouts and losers, and it was destroying my truck. It sucked too because it was a feast-or-famine type job... So in the summer i was rolling in cash, and around Christmas there was no work. While the rest of America was having a Merry Christmas, I was eating Top Ramen and feeling sorry for myself. But most of all, it wasn't my dream to baby-sit burnouts.

I have so many sign job stories, I wish i could tell them all. There's the time some boracho got caught drinking in public and was hauled off by Border Patrol after they caught him sleeping using the sign for a blanket, there was the time Robert pissed off the local 18th street gang bangers, and he had to hide out in the Yoshinoya until we could figure out how to rescue him outta there, there was the signwalker in an electric wheel chair (first person ever allowed to sit down), there were sign wars with competing sign companies who would chop our signs into tiny pieces if they found them, and we would destroy theirs too in retaliation. It was a jungle out there, and we went in full blown commando style every damned day, ready for whatever this crazy Los Angeles had to throw at us.

This one time i happened to be doing a gig out of town, and along the way in the middle of nowhere my truck's engine shakes violently before dying completely. The sign-job is do or die, so i managed to get my truck towed to a mechanic near the client's sale, grabbed the signs out of the truck, i found/hired/put-out the 6 signwalkers... via the bus. I called in favors from Santa Cruz to Long Beach, and somehow made it home that night, with my truck fixed, and convinced i could make any impossible situation possible. That was cool. The sign job was really good at boosting your self esteem.

I eventually gave the job up because i decided to go back to school, finally get my degree, and follow my dreams. I miss the sign job, the friends i made, and the lifestyle i once led, but it can't compete with my life now. Also, on certain holidays or special occasions i will do a sign job or two, but only 3 or 4 times a year. Once a sign guy, always a sign guy.