Thoughts generated on the Megabus between NYC and Philly

2018 December 5, 7:05pm

We just passed a rest stop in New Jersey named Joyce Kilmer.  “Joyce Kilmer” is written in slanted cursive lettering above the front double doors.  The letters glitter mildly.  Otherwise, the rest stop appears as one might expect: a little stark-white building with signs for Subway and Sbarro’s.

Now, there are a couple indisputable facts here that are funny.  First, at least one person invested time and energy into naming a rest stop.  Also, the sign itself sports a bit of artistic endeavour, with the pretty curvy handwriting.  But now think about the possible explanations underlying this naming: some of these possible explanations are vastly funnier.

For example, imagine that it was Joyce Kilmer him-or-herself who named the rest stop.  Joyce Kilmer had some money to throw around and wanted to make a name in philanthropy.  Where did she choose to put the money?  You might reason that if she had donated to this rest stop, then of course she must have already exhausted every other possible philanthropic channel.  So, you should be seeing her name on every hospital ever built, every kindergarten, every college.  Every whisky bar in Scotland should be called “Joyce Kilmer Whisky Bar”.

But nope: Joyce Kilmer pulled over at that rest stop in New Jersey one day, looked around, and thought: “What refreshing choices of fountain sodas they offer here.  I should support that.”

2018 December 5, 7:37pm

I just googled Joyce Kilmer.  It’s a male poet who lived about 100 years ago.  He wrote pretty little poems about nature.  So, the rest area owners just decided to name their rest stop after him.  That’s not as funny.  A much more plausible explanation than the one I cooked up, but unfortunately not so funny.  Well, the fact that they chose a poet who wrote pretty poems about nature – that is mildly funny.

2018 December 5, 7:47pm

Oh, in New Jersey there’s also an Alexander Hamilton Service Area and a Vince Lombardi Travel Plaza.  Okay, so the service area administrators have a sense of humor.  That’s not really funny, although it is quite surprising.