I was walking the loop I’ve walked or run dozens of times before. Sometimes I turn right and go two miles, and other times I turn left to make it three. Either way, the first portion is the same. Turn at the church, pass a few dozen homes, and then cross a sometimes busy street. The grounds around the hospital are always quiet. There might be a man sitting on the bench in the corner, reading a newspaper. Or I’ll have to walk on the curb to avoid the sprinklers arch. It’s easy to forget all that is happening inside the brick walls while I’m strolling along the path.
With a casual glance towards the buildings, I paused in utter confusion. My quiet morning walk was stuck in place by the strangest advertisement I had ever seen. Why would a hospital have a giant flying corn dog on a sign in their parking lot? Were corn dogs healthy now? When did they start being available in giant sizes? And why is there a boat in the background? I looked around wondering if anyone else had seen this bizarre sign, or even better if someone could explain it to me.
After a minute that had me wondering if this was a dream, I started to think through my own questions and realized that the third one was the key to understanding this strangeness.
Why was there a boat in the background?
Because it wasn’t a giant flying corn dog. It was just an oar. Rather than highlighting a fair food that clearly needs mustard, the hospital was showing a fun summer activity to get you moving. With a sigh of acceptance, I continued on my loop out and back again.
When I’ve passed by that sign in the days since then, I still see a giant flying corn dog first. I know that’s not what it really is, but I like my view better than reality. There are so many good questions and interesting stories about a giant flying corn dog. Really all I wonder about that paddle is whether I’m going to be thwacked by it. And that’s not an interesting possibility at all.