Imagine you are driving down a dark and lonely road that snakes through the woods like a water serpent navigating the murky depths. You turn on your high beams for better visibility, but a dense fog has rendered them completely useless. Trying your best to concentrate, you lean slightly forward and squint your eyes in order to see better. It is then that you start wondering why squinting your eyes would ever make you see better, since technically you are providing your eyes with less light than having them open wider. Your mind wanders further as you realize that everybody squints slightly in order to see better and you've just possibly uncovered a universal paradox for the entire human race.

We'll make it totally tasteful, so the memory of our loved one will forever be associated with a bunch of crap rotting on the side of the road.Fumbling for your cell phone in order to text-document this newfound paradox to your "things to remember" file, you suddenly find your vehicle on a collision course with a large white teddy bear nailed to a giant cross! With ninja-like reflexes (yes, apparently this ninja drives a car…just shut up and go with it) you quickly turn your steering wheel and manage to avoid hitting the bear…the large white bear…the large white teddy bear…the large white teddy bear nailed to a giant cross.

Why the fuck was there a large white teddy bear nailed to a giant cross in the woods? I mean why nailed to a cross? Who the hell would crucify a teddy bear, but some sick asshole trying to reenact the crucifixion of Jesus, but with teddy bears? Why teddy bears? I don't remember anything about bears at the crucifixion. Sure there have been a lot of re-translations of the Bible through the ages, but I'm pretty sure there were never any bears in Judea. Who the hell knows, though, there were apparently talking sheep and ox and lambs that could keep time.

WHAM! CRASH! BAM! Possibly even ZOINK, if you will!

Your car slams right into the side of a tree while you were distracted trying to decode this strange roadside acid trip. As you slip into total unconsciousness you can't help but wonder if anyone has ever hit anything other than the side of a tree. I mean, a tree trunk is round so basically anywhere you hit the thing it would still be the side, so saying "the side" is really just redundant and ultimately unnecessary. If only you could reach your cell phone in order to text-document this newly discovered "side of the tree statement redundancy" into your "things to remember" file, but instead everything goes dark….

Red car crashed into a tree
I swear officer, a polar bear jumped out in front of my car! I think it was Jesus!

Seriously, what the hell is going on with these roadside memorials?! They seem to be getting bigger, more elaborate, more bizarre, and even more distracting lately, which, ironically, also defeats their purpose. Isn't the purpose of these roadside eyesores to remind people that the road is so dangerous people have actually died there? Hey, I have a good idea, let's go out to the site of our loved one's death and build a huge, distracting, disturbing, bizarre shrine on the side of the road complete with flowers, cards, photos, crucified teddy bears, and ultra-reflective Mylar balloons! That way our loved one won't be alone, since countless other people will careen off the road and die there just trying to figure out why the fuck someone would put balloons and a crucified teddy bear at a crash site! Oh no, don't worry, we'll make it totally tasteful, so that the memory of our loved one will forever be associated with a bunch of crap rotting on the side of the road.

Roadside cross memorial with a bumblebee
Yeah, this seems like a normal part of the grieving process. 

Teddy bear crucified on roadside memorial cross
Teddy bears: Making death more bearable.
Please, someone tell me exactly WHAT goes through a person's mind while erecting a giant cross and actually nailing a teddy bear to it?! I mean is it something like, "I love you Johnny (crash victim) and I hope this sick act of nailing a cute bear to a cross shows you just how much I miss you!" Or maybe the person is so wracked with grief that they've lost their damn mind, leading ultimately to the crucifixion of small, cute stuffed animals. Maybe, just maybe, they find the entire event completely unbearable and in a bizarre literal defiance of the occurrence, decided to make it completely bearable instead. They just bear the hell out of that incident, so that the next time someone says to them, "It's all just so unbearable," they can retort with a crazed confidence in their eyes, "NOT ANY MORE IT'S NOT! GO TO THE CRASH SITE AND SEE JUST HOW BEARABLE IT ACTUALLY IS! THIS IS MY CROSS TO BEAR AND BY GOD I'M GOING TO BEAR THE FUCK OUT OF IT! HEE HEE! HA HA! WOOOOWHOOOO! WEEEEEEE!"

The other thing I can't seem to wrap my head around is all the Mylar balloons. I mean not only are these things basically just giant roadside distracting reflectors, flapping in the wind, but what the hell do they actually say?! I've been to Party City for balloons before and I've never once seen a Mylar balloon that says, "We'll miss you, rest in peace" or "It really sucks that you died," so what on Earth is going through these people's minds when they're standing in the balloon aisle trying to make their choice?

"Happy Birthday!" – No, that seems kind of dyslexic actually.

"Get Well Soon!" – Kind of unrealistic and would probably only provide false hope.

"Happy Anniversary!" – Just doesn't seem appropriate to celebrate this date.

"Congratulations!" – Not really the best of accomplishments though, was it?

"You Graduated! – Good, but still not quite right.

"Welcome Back!" – That might just freak people out.

"Over the Hill!" – Close, but do you have anything like "Around the Tree!" in the back?

"Great Job!" – Um yeah, that might come off as a little too sarcastic.

Damn, this is hard to choose….


"Excuse me, Miss? Can I please have three of the ‘Happy Retirement' Mylar balloons, and do you have a large black Sharpie or something so I can write a big "UN" in front of the word ‘Happy'? Thanks, this is going to be great!"

Happy (Un)retirement party balloon
Perfect! This is going to be totally tasteful and appropriate! 

Roadside memorial cross decaying
Ironically, it's kind of back to unbearable, isn't it?
Maybe it's a little callous of me, but I actually think that the people who erect these little "Insanity Shrines" (as I like to call them) have mentally snapped and lost all touch with reality. Somehow they've also forgotten the fact that it regularly rains on their little shrine and gets everything wet, soggy, moldy, and generally fucking disgusting in a matter of days. Is THAT an appropriate tribute to your loved one? A disgusting moldy shrine by the side of a road depicting the morbid crucifixion of a once cute and cuddly, now soggy animal?! NO, it's not! It's just a whack, disturbing display that is totally distracting to other drivers and ultimately a complete and total eyesore. Way to honor the memory of your loved one! Well done, well done indeed!

Every single time I see one of these ridiculous displays on the side of the road I feel more sympathy for the sad little bear nailed to the cross than you, your family, or your lost loved one. I mean, at least your loved one got to actually die and get away from the complete insanity that obviously runs in your family, but that poor little bear can never escape! Sure, I may be acting a little insensitive to your loss here, but at least I'm not a sick fuck who crucifies teddy bears by the side of the road! Oh and don't tell me the bear doesn't have any feelings on the matter or isn't real either. I've read the book Corduroy and I can't even begin to image what that poor little bear thinks about, day in and day out, just hanging there, humiliated, in pain, wet, dirty, cold, and alone, for all time. I'll tell you this though, I bet life in a store, with a missing button, never looked more appealing to him…ever!

Corduroy bear
Nevermind, on second thought, I'll just deal with the missing button.

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