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March 29, 2005

Last summer I overheard some kids talking about Peter Berry, d/b/a King Kiser. He was a graffiti artist who'd fallen onto the tracks in Rogers Park and was killed by a train. A few days later a local newspaper ran both an obituary and a front-page profile. From all accounts he was a decent kid and was well-liked, and since his death "RIP Kiser" tags have been common sights, especially along the Red Line.

But it's one thing to tag alleys and billboards and it's another to mark up beloved community fixtures. It's a shame, then, that Peter Berry's legacy will be the Andersonville water tower and every time someone looks up and says, "What a fucking asshole."

Coincidentally, my building also got tagged this week. It's the first time this has happened since I moved in, which is surprising given our proximity to two public schools. Mostly I was upset that they hadn't taken the time to make it look good. The script was rushed and sloppy, like that of someone whose medium was yellow snow, and I couldn't make out a single word. (Then again, I don't pretend I was supposed to.)

I also grimaced thinking about the money it will cost our tapped condo association to clean it up, but a neighbor tells me that the city has a graffiti clean-up program that has already been notified. Any day now Mayor Daley himself will show up with brushes and industrial-strength solvents.

Photo taken: March 27, 2005