"Nature's way of telling you" (1917) (etc.)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jan 28 16:34:56 UTC 2005

So it was just a joke?  That's a relief.

I saw it in the singular because it was written at exactly eye-level on the reverse of a stall door in an university men's room.

Similarly: in 1970, I think, Venice suffered a devastating flood. (Yeah, I know; get over it.)  The museum was badly affected, a number of priceless paintings were ruined or seriously damaged, and an urgent effort was being made try to restore what paintings could be saved.

Meanwhile, in the New World, graffiti was building up inside a completely different university's lavatories. It was the usual stupid, goofy, unpleasant collection of misspelled curses, alleged phone numbers, contextless words, assignation notes, and crude sexual drawings. Then, one night, while Venice was still prominent on the evening news, a janitorial crew showed up and repainted all the men's rooms.

Within 24 hours, again at eye level, I read the tiny words - the only ones on a now pristine surface - "Restore NYU's Graffiti Treasures!"

And I've never forgotten.



"Mark A. Mandel" <mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Mark A. Mandel"
Subject: Re: "Nature's way of telling you" (1917) (etc.)

Jonathan Lighter sez:
A personal favorite from ca1975: "We Are Laughing At You, Earthman."

I remember it in the plural, "Earthmen", which makes more sense to me as a
graffito. A h.s. buddy of mine used to use it a lot... though I can't be
sure he was using it in h.s. (we were class of '65 but stayed close for many
years after).

-- Mark M.

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