I was recently driving past a local strip mall and took note of a young man twirling one of those signs which now seem to be appearing everywhere. They are, it turns out, called Sign Twirlers or Sign Spinners. The concept behind them is that you see the sign they are spinning and, impulsively, go to that location and avail yourself of their product or service.
OK. I don’t have a problem with that. For the most part, it’s a fairly easy job. I guess it is tougher for those in the desert areas of Texas, Arizona and Southern California. It can get warm fairly rapidly in the Southern United States. Or, Northern Mexico, as it is now called. But, all-in-all, the job doesn’t require much of a skill set other than holding the sign pointing in the proper direction, with the correct side up and facing your potential customers.
You can attract more attention if you have some moves. You can turn on your iPod and dance and work your sign twirling into your dance moves and call more attention to your sign and, subsequently, the business that hired you.
Again, I am OK with all of this. I think it’s wonderful. You drive by; see a sign that says Discount Oil Change and you think, “Hey! I do need to get my oil changed and these guys are offering a discount. Perfect!” And you motor on in.
Except the one I saw the other day said: Cruises.
Huh? How many people are going to drive by and see this kid spinning a sign that says Cruises and say to their significant other,” Why say there. Do you see that sign? What say you we go in and book us a cruise?!”
I mean, a cruise isn’t exactly an impulse item.
Open House, Model Home and Slightly Sick Parakeets; those are all things you stop and see on impulse. The aforementioned Discount Oil Change, Farm-Grown Oranges and, during tax season, Income Taxes Here are all legitimate impulse stops you’d make. But, Cruises? Who books a cruise on Impulse? “Honey, I know I promised to clean the gutters and Jimmy is coming home from college and your mother is having that heart/lung transplant, but why don’t we just say, ‘screw it’ and let’s take a cruise instead?!”
As you know, I will go to most any lengths to keep you apprised of the latest in modern technology, so, in the spirit of investigation, I decided to stop into the next place I saw that had a sign spinner with a sign that I felt was not quite an impulse item. It couldn’t be Apartment Rentals, DVD Sale Here or Used Cars. It had to be something I thought was not an impulse-buy-sign.
As luck would have it, the very next day I was cruising past the local JMart and, just passed it I saw the sign. The young up-and-coming rapper was dancing and twirling a sign that read: Discount Colonoscopies.
“That’s curious,” I said to myself.
If I recall—which I’d almost rather not—from my first colonoscopy nearly a decade prior, they explained on my initial consultation that there’d be some prep time involved. And that prep time basically amounted to spending the entire day prior to my colonoscopy exam drinking some prescribed liquid then sitting on my commode and doing my impersonation of a Titan Rocket leaving Vandenberg AFB on a clear summer evening. Spending ten hours drinking foul-tasting liquid and immediately running back to your bathroom before the next eruption, did not seem to lend itself to a procedure which could be done on impulse.
Yet, I instantly turned in and, here on the same strip just down from JMart, Used Vacuum Cleaners and the NarcAnnon Meeting Room I found the Medical Office of Jrxmandian Hovprppqzllquatty. I may not have the spelling of that exactly correct, but it seemed legit enough for me.
I parked and walked in. The lovely young woman behind the counter greeted me most politely. And I say lovely out of courtesy more than actual appearance since the smell of curry, patchouli and garlic wafting through the walls from the restaurant next door made my eyes water so badly I couldn’t really see her. And I sort of banged my knee on a nearby end-table and that made the watering of my eyes even worse.
“Hello and welcome to doctor Hovprppqzllquatty’s office. It is my goal to be of most excellent service to you today?”
“I, uh… achoo! Excuse me—”
“A thousand flowering blessings upon you!”
“Yes… uhhh… thank you. Sorry, my nose is just running—I uhh, I saw your sign spinner on the corner?”
“Oh, most excellent!” Just fill out these forms and Doctor Hovprppqzllquatty will see you most instantly!”
“I, uhh… OK. Thank you…”
“And thank you, most kind sir!”
I took the clipboard and sat down in the waiting room. After wiping my eyes on my sleeve, I looked over the papers she’d handed me. It was all pretty standard stuff. Medical history, past physicians, allergies, waiver of right to trial, agreement to use arbitration in case of loss of life or limb, something about indentured servitude… all seemed OK to me. I filled out the paperwork, signed it and handed it back to her.
Turning back to my seat I found myself standing toe-to-toe with Doctor Hovprppqzllquatty.
“Hello, Mr. Kasal!” He said at most excellent volume. He took my hand and pumped vigorously. “It is most excellent to meet you! Please follow me to our consultation office!”
Whew! OK. At least there was first a consultation. I sat down in an office.
“Listen,” I began, “the sign on the corner said Discount. I don’t really have insurance so I—“
“Please do not worry sir! There is no need for insurance! The cost of the colonoscopy exam is only costing 95 dollars and that cost includes lunch at no cost to you!”
“Most definitely, sir!”
The last time I had a colonoscopy exam, my co-pay was a hundred bucks, so a total of 95 bucks was OK with me. Plus there was lunch!
“OK,” I said. “When can I come in?”
“Why, right now, my good sir! You are here now!”
“Now? I, uhhh—“
“Yes, now, sir!” he said, standing abruptly. “Follow me this way and we’ll get you some lunch!”
Feeling a bit bewildered, but in the interest of scientific investigation, I followed. He took me to the girl at the front desk, where I paid my $95.00.
“Now then, my good fellow!” he said, handing me a small, light blue ticket. “Just take this next door to the restaurant and give it to my wife, Manjula! You may recognize her voice as Betty from AT&T Tech Support! This will entitle you to our all-you-can-eat East Indian buffet! Enjoy! Enjoy and return here when you are finished!!” He again pumped my hand quite robustly while ushering me to the door.
I’ll admit to you that my head was spinning with confusion. This was nothing like my last colonoscopy, but… yes. Science. Discovery.
Manjula/Betty was very nice and she escorted me to my table, and then directed me to the buffet. It was completely foreign to me. I recognized nothing. There was something that looked like tortilla-shaped bread and the rest was bowls of darkly colored, murky mush. Perhaps my profusely watering eyes made it more difficult to discern the subtle variations in the dishes. So, I thought I would try all of it to see which I liked best. This, as it turns out, was unnecessary as the first bite of some reddish mush into which I had dipped a piece of the flat bread burned away all of my taste buds and seared its way down my esophagus. Everything after that tasted exactly the same. But this lunch was included and basically free, so I ate until I was full.
Though I was feeling a bit of discomfort, I did drink a lot of water and I think most of my nerve endings were scorched away along with my taste buds, so the majority of the pain was now nonexistent.
I made my way back to Doctor Hovprppqzllquatty’s office and the receptionist instructed me to have a seat until I was ready.
Until I was ready? Whatever. I sat down and picked up a magazine. I’d barely flipped open a page when it struck. There was no questioning the cramping I felt within my bowels. Once I sensed the impending explosion I realized that she did mean when I was ready. I leapt up and ran toward her. Without looking up from her computer screen she raised a hand and pointed a finger to a nearby door.
I think it said Men’s Room but I didn’t care nor did I have time to consider. I dove through the door and spun in midair, quite dexterously divesting myself of my trousers, and landed on the commode in the pre-launch position.
Into the restroom they had piped some cultural music which sounded like a large group of hyperactive preschoolers castrating a goat. Played at 78 RPM. And the sounds emanating from both ends of me seemed to match the sounds of the music in pitch, vocal style and intensity. Thinking back on it now, they intermingled in a lovely harmony. The spices that a half hour earlier had branded my mouth and esophagus now seared their way out my other end. I screamed and evacuated. Evacuated and screamed. I tried to form a cogent thought but only words like molten came into my head. Flickering images of smelting pots in films I’d seen of Kaiser Steel factories traversed my mind. I prayed to God, and then to all of those I did not recognize who beamed radiant smiles upon me from the surrounding walls.
And as quickly as it began, it came to an end. Everything I’d eaten at the next door restaurant was no longer within me. Everything I’d eaten within the past week was no longer within me. I believe I also left in that bathroom both kidneys and a lung.
Somehow I found myself in the procedure room. I slumped forward onto the table and realized I was in the perfect position for an examination. Doctor Hovprppqzllquatty was in the room with me and I inquired as to any provided anesthesia.
“Oh, Mr. Kasal!” He said. “We do not use the standard anesthesia on our discount colonoscopy exams! No, Sir! I have found I can get the desired results with a glass of chardonnay and a dozen roses!”
He turned quickly and left the room, I presume, to get his anesthesia. It was at that point that I ran from his office and ran home. I snuck back a few nights later and got my car from the lot. I’ll try to find another sign spinner to investigate. Forgive me, but you’ll have to research the rest of the discount colonoscopy procedure on your own.
But do let me know if you see any signs being spun that you think seem a little odd.