Irrelativity: Sign holding on the Vegas strip |

Irrelativity: Sign holding on the Vegas strip

Barry Smith
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyBarry Smith

There’s a man standing on the sidewalk holding a huge sign that reads, “The Sin and the Sinner Go To Hell Together.”

Next to him, his buddy has an even bigger sign, almost 20 feet high and at least 4 feet wide. It’s more of a vertical banner. Written at the very top of his sign, in red letters, is the word “NO.” Then, running down the length of the sign is a list of more than a dozen things that this “NO” pertains to, each in foot-high red all caps: “REBELLIOUS WOMEN, HOMOS, SPORTS NUTS, PENCIL NECKS, BABY KILLERS, MORMONS … ”

Oh, and I suppose it’s worth pointing out that the sidewalk the guy is standing on is right smack dab in the middle of the Las Vegas strip.

I could see where rebellious women and homos and Mormons could be somewhat troublesome to this man’s God, but I had to know about the “sports nuts.” How do they figure in such company? So I asked him.

He was happy to explain: “Well, say you come home and turn on the game without acknowledging your wife and family. You’ve lost sense of your priorities, see?”

OK, fair enough.

“I’m not against sports,” he continued, “just people who don’t keep them in the right perspective. I’m against any extreme behavior.”

And I’m thinking, dude, you’re wearing a T-shirt that says, “Jesus Is The Way” while standing on a street corner in Vegas holding up a 20-foot sign decrying Mormons. Is there any more extreme behavior than this?

Then I immediately realized that, yes, there was more extreme behavior ” he could have been holding this sign aloft WITHOUT the aid of his special supportive leather sign-holder belt. Like his buddy was doing. He had the end of his sign pole jammed in his front pocket. Granted, it was a smaller sign, but still. Hardcore.

Does God judge harshly the man who does not hold high his sign with his own two hands? I mean, if Jesus had carried his cross through the streets using some E-Z-Cross-Bearing device, something akin to a dolly, or a fork-lift, then the story wouldn’t have had quite as much of an impact, would it?

It’s a funny little situation, this telling others what to do. This guy with the “NO” sign is sure that he has the truth, and that standing at Sodom and Gomorrah Ground Zero waving his anti-pencil-neck sign is the right thing to do. I talked to him a bit, and he seemed nice enough, he lived with his wife in one of the Vegas suburbs, had a job, and it was clear that he had been told to do this sign-wielding thing. I assumed he meant he was told by God, but I guess it could have been his wife who told him. Or his parole officer. I didn’t ask, as I was too busy wondering if he actually thought this activity was going to get someone to come round to his way of thinking. As far as I could tell he was only going to piss off Mormons, and how many of those was he likely to encounter walking down the Vegas Strip?

Certainly he’ll be seen by plenty of sports nuts, homos and pencil necks ” whatever they are ” but chances are good that they, like me, will just want to get their picture taken with him. But Mormons? I’ve never thought of Vegas as a big draw for Mormons. Not unless they’re there to parade around with their own signs. And God forbid that they end up on the same corner. Though, when I think about it, that’s an encounter I wouldn’t mind watching.

I took one of his pamphlets, because I always take pamphlets. I wished him luck, and I had to ask before I walked on …

“So what’s a pencil neck, exactly?”

He laughed and said, “Ha! You should know!”

He said this with an obvious because-you’re-one-of-them tone in his voice. What the hell?

OK, time to move on. The last thing you want to do is get in a yelling match with a guy holding a banner in front of Treasure Island.

Besides, maybe he was joking. And even if he wasn’t, there’s no point in getting too worked up. It’s not like he accused me of being a Mormon.

Visit Barry Smith’s Web site at to read more.

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