Maybe that is a little too harsh. They aren't all white, I guess. Some are green or jazzed up with the dead person's name in glitter paint, maybe a waterlogged photograph too. A popular trend is placing a white band of cheap plastic flowers over the cross, so it looks like it's coming back from a luau. But, these simple adornments don't mean much when the average passerby is buzzed and careening at 80mph through the back woods of Georgia in the middle of the night.
Maybe strangers aren't supposed to honor these dead. Maybe the deathcrosses are supposed to serve as a warning to the living. A dramatic "don't let this happen to you" kind of thing. But if poor Johnny died at Deadman's Curve because he didn't see the semi barreling down at him, then is hanging an enormous, distracting wreath at the site really that helpful?
No. Of course they aren't. It's just a ritual that probably originated when the automobile was viewed as the devil's soul stealing tool-if such a time ever existed. It may be an absurd practice, but it's popular all around the world. When I was in Greece, I noticed a bunch of these, but they used little boxes with candles inside instead of crosses. I was driving on a brand new stretch of highway that was wrapping around the mountains, and every mile there sat a little candle box marking where someone died. Well, no shit someone died there. But I don't need a little shrine to show me since I can see where they flew through the guardrail and rolled down the sheer side of a mountain. Hell, I can still see the mangled wreckage left at the base.
I guess it's just a coping mechanism. People do this shit because they feel like they have to do something, and making a little cross out of some wood scraps is probably the easiest option. I mean, if someone really cared, they would put a deathcross to mark the site, and then make a website with the picture of the deathcross and "Tears in Heaven" playing in the background. Whoa.
Not everything about the deathcross is pointless, though. I mean, if nothing else, they really piss off this guy who believes they're part of a larger conspiracy led by Christians to spread faith. So, I guess if I had to pick sides, I'd rather see more deathcrosses than this guy.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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