March 26, 2002


duck sign

It was Rachel’s idea to steal the duck sign. Had we succeeded, I wouldn’t be telling you this story. This raises the question of what I’m not telling you. I’m not telling you a lot.

The sign is on Broadkill Road, a few miles from Rachel’s mother’s beach house. Rachel noticed it on her way back from the supermarket and immediately got out to check the bolts. The bolts seemed easy enough to unscrew, although reaching the top bolt would require some kind of stool.

Back at the beach house Rachel reported her findings and asked for my help. I agreed to do so only so long as we didn’t get caught. My philosophy is, I’ll steal duck signs with my girlfriend but I won’t get caught.

After much discussion (sign stealing is not a felony, we reasoned), more investigation was deemed necessary, so we drove to the sign, bringing two large wrenches and a foot stool. If things went well we would steal the sign in the middle of the night, when few people used that road.

Things did not go well. There was no shoulder on the sign side of the road, which meant that we couldn’t park the car in a way that would block view of what we were doing. Worse, the top bolt was higher than Rachel had estimated: a good four feet above my reach. We would need a small ladder to do the job, and unfortunately there was no such ladder back at the beach house. We considered using the car as a ladder, with me standing on the roof, but that seemed crazy. What if a car appeared in the distance? At best I would have just enough time to jump from the roof, or perhaps lay flat across it, but there wouldn’t be enough time to move the car, which would be parked against the sign, sticking out halfway into the road.

I turned to Rachel and said, “I’m not sure we can do this,” by which I meant, “No fucking way am I doing this,” and then we returned to the beach house.

The next day, heading back to Brooklyn, we stopped and took photos. It was sad. Rachel really wanted that sign and I wanted to get it for her.

About the only good thing about this is that I can tell you about it.