My Shot

Once in a while you’ll be going about your day, moving through the motions of morning, afternoon and night. Then all of a sudden something captures your attention, something bites you. Once bitten, you can’t seem to leave the pervasive affliction alone. This happened to me the other day as I was driving my usual route to town.

As I was rounding a corner and driving down a hill, a billboard caught my attention. Above a picture of a new housing development at one of the local resorts, these five words are written: ‘Owners have all the fun.’ This got me thinking. People who buy some form of resort housing, which then gains them closer access to skiing, ice skating, shopping, and eating at the resort’s restaurants, are entitled to ‘have all the fun.’ Right? Let’s turn this around. If owners have ‘all’ the fun, then what’s left for non-owners?

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I suppose part of the goal of advertising is to make people feel special, even exclusive and I’m guessing this objective is most often successful. But, really. Is it just me or does this little phrase intone a particularly restricted attitude? I believe it’s the word ‘all’ that troubles me the most. All: a whole amount, the greatest possible, every one of…
The antonym: none.

Billboards are one means by which our culture is represented. In Truckee and other areas of Tahoe, billboards shout loudly (because they’re big, you know) the highlights of the region, advertising the extraordinary geographical and cultural features. In some ways, advertisers determine the attractions. As Tahoe communities gather to make their own determinations, there’s been a lot of discussion about this, character that is. How do Truckee and other Tahoe local towns want to be viewed? What is their persona? Living on the edge of transition, some community members cling to past visions while others mediate and accommodate newer ones. In the midst of all this contemplation, however, signs rise up to tell us, whether we agree or not, exactly how this region is perceived. A picture is worth a thousand words, certainly, but in the aforementioned billboard a mere five words establishes a current cultural sentiment.

As signs of the time, billboards mirror our desires. We look at them and see the reflections of society’s intentions. In one local billboard, we are enticed to own resort property by means of obtaining all the fun. I suppose this is one way to have fun in Tahoe-Truckee. But in my opinion, in life, there are others.

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