Carved In Stone.

Some of the world’s oldest examples of graffiti are carved in stone. There are ancient Egyptian monuments that have been partially defaced because some ancient-but-not-as-ancient Greek guy chiseled “Stavros was here” into them. I think about that every time I see someone’s name or something scrawled in concrete even though that doesn’t require a chisel, and concrete was largely, though not exclusively, used by the Romans.

Also writing in concrete requires being at just the right place at the right time.

Or the right place at the wrong time. Source: "Blazing Saddles", copyright Warner Brothers.

Or the right place at the wrong time.
Source: “Blazing Saddles”, copyright Warner Brothers.

What’s surprising is how quickly concrete wears down. It seems like it would be a more long-lasting form of graffiti, but, looking down, I found that in places with heavy foot traffic examples of it disappeared pretty quickly. Still there are some places where it lasts. Here, for instance, is a bit next to Nashville’s own Exit/In:


I found this just a few blocks away. I think it’s more recent and already shows signs of wear:

stone2And then there’s this that directs people to The Red Door Saloon, a funky little dive near Music Row.




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  1. kdcol

    We did a driveway expansion project last year and Gerald let the boys make handprints in the concrete but only after the worker guys were gone. He figured they may get a little upset seeing kids deface the concrete they had worked so hard on getting smooth.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I love that. You have your own version of Grauman’s Chinese Theater there in your driveway. The worker guys may have appreciated it. Or maybe not. I think it’s a Bugs Bunny cartoon, or it might be another, where a worker is smoothing concrete and two characters keep running through it. Finally the worker gives up and just stamps in the concrete himself. I thought about it while writing this and wished I could find it.

  2. Gina W.

    When I was 2 or 3 my grandparents built a house and put my feet into the wet cement of their garage after. Apparently I screamed bloody murder. I have no memory of this. However, I know that house still stands (in a city four hours away) and I’d love to see my little footprints (assuming they are still there).

    Speaking of graffiti I just saw this Tweet which I could sympathize with: “Sometimes I carry a red pen with me so I can correct restroom graffiti with proper grammar and spelling”. This gives me ideas…

    1. Gina W.

      Garage FLOOR. Not sure how the word “after” appeared.

    2. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s amazing you don’t remember something so traumatic. Wet cement isn’t exactly comfortable either. Have you ever thought about trying to preserve it somehow? I wonder how hard it would be to cut out that piece and save it.


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