Heyoka’s Workbench

A Kid’s Kurious Kareer Kraze

A cartoon showing a little boy and a cat watching a bill poster affix a placard to an advertising column.

Believe it or not but the one profession that made my heart jolt when I was a boy and that for me enshrined the promise of an all-rosy future and never-ending bliss was the supposedly humble occupation of the bill poster. To be one of that jolly lot who walk around town carrying bundles of posters and a big bucket of paste and (as the badge signifying the nobleness of the services they render to the public) wielding an outsized paintbrush – to belong to that blessed lot was my dearest desire.

The greatest spectacle for me was to witness one of the bill posters stick a placard not just onto a plain wall but to nothing less than a real Litfaßsäule! My parents will testify to the deep fascination with which I watched: utterly transfixed and glued to the spot, just as immovable as the Pyramid of Giza (which, by the way, wouldn’t have had an even remotely comparable appeal to me).

Seems, by the way, that I’m not the only one in world history who deemed the said profession worth mentioning: while rummaging the internet for a correct English equivalent to »Plakatankleber« I hit upon a Krazy Kat animation picture from 1933 whose title is – »The Bill Poster«! This 6-minute film (rather anarchic, for that matter!) was already a cinematic fossil in the days when I stood marvelling at the process of placards being affixed to walls and columns.

And even today, I can happily confirm that the honourable profession of the bill poster has, against all odds, survived the onslaught of mechanisation and electronic billboards so that I still happen across one of its proponents now and again, still equipped with a brush and good old paste – only that, nowadays, I move on and leave the guy alone.

Giving the whole thing a second thought, though, I may – in a way – very well have achieved my dream occupation after all. For isn’t a blog just like a wall onto which I stick my announcements to the public? And don’t I post my drawings and writings? No paste involved and no paintbrush either, sure, but I hope little Heyoka would be content if he could watch.