Election season is upon us, which means that the season of political yard signs is upon us, which therefore means that the season of jackasses stealing political yard signs is upon us.
For as surely as the signs go up, here in Humboldt County, a certain and probably fixed percentage of them are coming down. This is activism, to a bipartisan percentage of our population, and this year is no exception.
Do left-leaning yard signs get stolen? They do. Eric Kirk recently chronicled a bunch of disappearing Biden signs over at his SoHum Parlance blog.
Do right-leaning yard signs get stolen? Reader, they do. Alan Bongio, a member of the Board of Directors of the Humboldt Community Services District, recently reported to the Outpost that a bunch of Trump signs were stolen from his properties, and you and I both know that we could find many more such cases were we to bother to look.
The point of this post is not to draw equivalence nor false equivalence between Trump and Biden, or Biden fans and Trump fans, or Trump sign-stealers and Biden sign-stealers. We don’t know who steals signs more often, or whose signs are stolen more often, because the practice of stealing signs is so amazingly ubiquitous in every election these days, and it would be an immense undertaking to try to quantify signs stolen by party, whipping up an Excel sheet and declaring a winner. If you think you know who steals more signs, and is therefore more bad — please, argue it out amongst yourselves. That’s not the point of this post.
The point of this post is to offer an ecumenical chuckle to anyone who has had their political yard sign stolen and been peeved about it. The video above was shot in Henderson Center night before last, and emailed to us by a reader. It shows a gangly teenage nimrod stealing a Biden sign from a lawn, and suffering a couple of minor slapstick setbacks along the way. But you are more than welcome to mentally swap in a different gangly teenage nimrod — or maybe a beardy boomer oaf — suffering such setbacks while stealing a Trump sign from your own yard, if you like.
The scene opens on a picket-fenced Eureka lawn, with street and sidewalk visible in the background. The time is 8:44 p.m., just about to turn 8:45. Moths flutter around a light in the foreground.
Suddenly our hero enters from stage right at a trot, a large piece of cardboard under his left arm. He turns up the front path and makes a beeline for the middle of the lawn, snatching at the air. Suddenly we see that he has grabbed a previously invisible — because parallel to the camera’s line of sight — yard sign in support of the Democratic candidate for president! That other piece of cardboard, we realize, must be another such sign. Our boy, perhaps in rebellion against his hempen parental units, is on a spree!
He goes to make his getaway. But just as he thinks he is in the clear, the first of the mishaps strikes: One of the signs catches on a fencepost and sticks fast, and his own lanky momentum carries him forward! He spins around — whoopsie-daisy! — and stumbles backward, arms flying in an attempt to keep balance. The purloined sign drops to the ground.
[UPDATE, 1 p.m.: A tipster confirms what several eagle-eyed readers had supposed — namely, that the sign was secured by a cable to a immovable object. This means that the kid was actually tripped when he ran out of line, like a charging dog on a chain.]
He turns around to retrieve it, but oh shit — headlights appear in the distance, stage left. For a split-second he freezes like the proverbial deer. Is the game up? But he’s a quick thinker, is our hero: He crouches down and appears to pretend to tie his shoe, then stands up and feigns super-coolness and nonchalance until the danger passes. Then he books the fuck out of there, double-speed!
When you think about it, there are lots of reasons to not steal yard signs. It’s a crime. and you can be arrested for it. It’s shitty. It’s dumb. It irks your neighbors — people who, if they haven’t in the past, might do something nice for you someday — for no good reason. Politically, it accomplishes nothing.
But if none of those do anything for you, consider this: You might get caught on video doing a dumb pratfall, and people will laugh at you. Maybe, in certain cases, that will tip the scales.