Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman.
On the corner of Penn and Lowry a multi-paneled chalkboard has been erected, with the inscription "Before I Die." I'm not sure exactly what the sponsors or creators were going for, but it feels to me like they really missed the mark. Is this meant to be uplifting or inspiring? Because...no, it's not, really. There are other ways to describe goals we want to accomplish in our lives. "Bucket list" comes to mind, and while that might not be something younger people use, it at least conveys a sense of a full life and dying of old age and hanging out with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. Or is the display meant to draw our attention to the fact that people are indeed dying in our community? If that's its intent then it should almost be MORE stark in making such a point.
Among the people I've talked to about the sign, there has been a pretty consistent response: "What's that on the corner? 'Before I die'? Why is that...oh, because this is north Minneapolis, where there have been, how many homicides now?" On the bright side, after seeing this sign I have no need to go home and watch the death of Artax in "The Neverending Story." (Come on, fellow nerds, you know this is the most depressing scene in cinematic history.)
I'm piling on here and I really don't mean to be overly critical. It's clear the intent behind this is good. But couldn't we have had an inscription like, "In my life, I want to..." instead?