Thursday, March 24, 2011


I saw another one today on my way to the grocery store. A hand painted wooden sign nailed high on a telephone pole. It said, “Thank you stranger for the therapeutic smile.” These signs keep popping up around the neighborhood. They are small and easy to miss. And they seem to disappear as mysteriously as they appear.

Another one said, “You are here.”

And my favorite, “See you soon Space Cowboy.”

Each time I have spotted one, my attention has been drawn away from whatever I was thinking about back to the present moment. A moment of absolute delight in the whimsy of the message and my discovery of the sign.

Who is the person behind these signs? Like a superhero with an alter ego, this person could be anybody – the cashier at the grocery, the kid on the bicycle, the high heeled executive in the BMW, the soccer dad.

I hope I never find out who it is. If it’s you and you’re reading this, please don’t stop! You are an urban joy guerrilla. Your message is getting through. You are bringing smiles to strangers and waking up the masses to the pleasure of this moment.

Live long and prosper.

[I will be away from the computer for a few days. Your comments are important and will be published as soon as I get back.]


  1. I love to find these signs in the most unexpected places. Even a simple scribbling on a bench will do. They always make me smile.

    "See you Space Cowboy" sounds familiar. Isn't it from the Japanese anime Cowboy Bebop?

  2. Beliza--Hi and thanks for following. I saw your comment just before I shut off my computer for a few days (going to my cabin--no phone or internet). I look forward to checking out your blog when I get back. As for the source of Space Cowboy, I have no idea!

  3. :-)
    I have never seen one of these, I hope I do!

  4. Galen: Hmmm. Copy them all down on paper and see if you can pick up a message within them collectively. Interesting.

  5. I think I'm in love with your "sneaky sign maker"....what a wonderful idea.



  6. Welcome back from solitude!

    I have never seen signs like that, but I'd like to. You are right...they would snap you back to the moment instead of wherever your mind wanders.

    Maybe they are actually in my neighborhood but I've just never noticed. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled (what an odd saying!).

  7. Oh, for fun!
    There is a billboard here in town that says, "You know that love your neighbor thing? I meant that. --God" It makes me smile each time I see it.

    Hope you had a good weekend away from the computer.

  8. Oh you are so right! Please keep posting a few here too, we could all use these uplifting reminders....and it gives us motive to look around the places we go and try to spot these surprise gifts waiting just around the corner! Enjoy your time away, I look forward to what you'll bring us after this time away!

  9. Hi Galen, that is really neat. It is amazing what how little things like a cool sign can do for every ones day. Thanks for sharing this with me. Debbie

  10. This sounds so wonderful - someone must be so full of joy and caring to want to do this! Thanks for sharing - you brought a smile!

  11. Galen,
    On my walk this morning I took an extra garbage bag, our neighborhood just seems to collect car window tossed trash...I take it as a sign I need to do more bending and lifting!

    Good to stay in the moment and how lovely it is because of whimsy and fun - what a great idea

  12. When I returned home to the north just before Christmas I noticed how the GFC had bitten deep into the local [tourism] economy and the morale of the people here. What a great idea to shake things up and inspire some confidence and joy. The anonymity adds the necessary element of mystique! Great idea Galen... thanks for posting about it.

    PS Enjoy the cabin! I can but only imagine it... yet it sure feels great from here LOL :-)

  13. Hi Galen, love your 10 step program to happiness and this post is intriguing. I'd want to find out who they are and thank them! It's brilliant. I think you'd enjoy Lori at She came up with a Random Acts of Kindness movement on her blog. Say hi from me if you visit:)

    So great to have connected with you through my blog. I love birds so we have that in common too:)

    Keep blogging, you're off to a fabulous start here!

    x Annabel

  14. Galen, that's amazing that someone would take the time to put up these signs but to return to take them down, if it is the poster taking them down, that's phenomenal. Cute messages and it is an interesting way to bring people into the here and now. I should do this with my niece! Enjoy your time away!

  15. I wish we had signs like those where I live, there is nothing like a great sign to brighten your day:)

  16. Hello there! Just came across your blog and happy I fell onto this paricular post. I love finding random signs out and about. Makes me wonder whats out there...

  17. Nothing cheers up another human being like a simple smile! It is a universal sign and one that has the potential to do so much in our world. The only proviso is that the eyes smile too! I will look out for smiles and signs to bring joy to my life...the best smiles for me are those from my boys...but I'm totally biased :)

  18. Oh happy day to come home from a relaxing weekend at the cabin and find so many comments! Thank y'all so much!! And a special welcome to the new folks--so glad you're here!

    I'm especially pleased that the mysterious signer has made such an impression. If I see any more, I will be sure to let y'all know!

  19. I love this! Cute phrase: "urban joy guerilla". There are a few signs in my area too, but not quite the same as new ones popping up. Thanks for sharing this with us. It shows you how simple it can be to make a difference in someone's day.

  20. I enjoyed your comment on Toyin's blog. Glad your faith is growing to understand faith includes trusting God's plan.

  21. alwayswellwithin--Sometimes a smile is all it takes!

    dfish--Welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by.


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