Thursday, November 02, 2006
All right, I’ll admit it. This is actually my very first time visiting Colorado Springs. I’ve been to Denver a few times and Fort Collins once; I’ve even driven over the Rabbit Ears Pass and down into Steamboat Springs back in 1996, when I was speaking at the University of Wyoming and just trying to see as much of the West as I could (because until I was 21, the furthest west I’d ever been was Hershey, Pennsylvania). But I never really visited Focus on the Family back in 2004. I was lying.
I did, however, speed by FoF’s Welcome Center last night as I drove down from the Denver airport. (I figured there was no point getting yet another flight, after State College - Philadelphia and Philadelphia - Denver, just to go another 45 miles.) And I was reminded of the presence of another important institution in the area: the Air Force Academy. One of my cousins on my mother’s side of the family serves in the Air Force, so I thought of him. And then I thought of something else: when Jamie and I drove to Pittsburgh a few weeks ago to see our very first Penguins game (and that will be the subject of another post in the near future—not the game, not the trip, but the economic conditions of hockey fandom in our time), we were tooling along route 422 deep in the wilds of western PA when I saw a recruitment billboard for the Air Force. It read:
CROSS INTO THE BLUE
Now, I know a thing or two about semiotics, but this slogan has been around for a couple of years, and I’ve always found it puzzling. Why, here I am a-puzzlin’ about it right now! I mean, it’s not like there’s some kind of vernacular tradition out there in which people say, “I got many rivers to cross before I get to the Air Force Academy” or “let me cross the Jordan, Lord, let me rest my weary soul at the Air Force Academy” or even “until now I have been a struggling musician with two highly-praised but obscure records to my credit—I so wish I could cross over into the Air Force market and get me some serious airplay.”
The Air Force’s previous recruiting slogan was “No One Comes Close,” which sounds much more Top Gun. But “Cross Into The Blue” sounds . . . I don’t know . . . kinda Crusadey in a way. It’s since been changed to “Do Something Amazing,” but still, there seems to be a Cross Into The Blue Tour, and I’m just wondering if this is one of those special whistles that people like me can’t hear. Because I might need to know these things while I’m visiting the area around here.