Alas, poor Onk! I knew him, Horatio…

My recent blog post about a piece of graffiti named Onk is now an example of God’s perfect timing (and perhaps His sense of humor).

Onk is no more. He has ceased to be. Yes, he has shuffled off his mortal coil, kicked the bucket, bitten the dust, gone belly up, gone west, and cashed in his chips. Last night, Wayne and I hopped in the car to go meet my father, who is working in town this week, for dinner, and when we came to the end of the street, this is what we saw.

Some do-gooder in rolled-up blue jeans and a hat that looks like the one Walter White dons in Breaking Bad when he adopts his alter-ego, Heisenberg, was painting over the blue ninja turbaned mouse! There was no doubt in my mind that poor, helpless Onk was next on his list, but I was unable to stop him. Traffic was whizzing by so quickly, I had to take six pictures with my cell phone just to capture this one, and there was no way I could get out, cross the street, and beg him to stop. So, we drove on to dinner, me bemoaning the untimely demise of my friend for the entirety of the journey. I even called my mother to tell her the sad news, and she was nearly as upset as I was. Nearly.

I must admit that our shared reaction is odd, even for us. And that’s saying something.

We’re a family that takes pride in order, in neatness, and in civic pride. Graffiti is the last thing we’d normally praise. Neither of us views it as “art” per se, and we’re not taking up a collection to bail graffiti artists out of jail to continue practicing their craft on unsuspecting, innocent walls. Heck, most times, we’d be out there with paint rollers helping get rid of it! That’s just now how we roll.

However, this little guy was different for reasons I’ve already explained in the previous post featuring him. My defense of him was something much more personal than it was social. I did not want him to remain because doing so was against the idea of freedom of expression; I wasn’t upset because of what Onk means to the graffiti spraying public. I just liked the idea of him and the comfort that came from seeing him each day. I suppose it would be akin to going back to a town where you used to live to find that a place where you spent time with friends and had made good memories in had been torn down or converted to something else, perhaps something corporate and soulless.

Perhaps the snuffing of Onk made me more introspective than usual. Who knows?  But on the way home, Wayne and I discussed the many challenges we’ve faced and overcome as a couple with God’s help and guidance. We evaluated ourselves spiritually and agreed that the things the Father had to use in the past to get our attention might not be necessary any longer. However, we agreed that we should always be ready for the next event He might use for His ultimate purpose for our lives.

Well, when we returned from dinner, it was dark, but I could see the square of paint–much whiter and cleaner than the area around it–where Onk used to be, and sighed resignedly. I suppose we can never stop change; we can only strive to see what God is doing through it and respond to it as such.

This morning, I decided to stop and snap a picture for this blog to show you the blank space that was left, but I was happily surprised to see this…

At first glance, it appears to be a patchy white wall, but look more closely…

Yep, underneath the single coat of white paint, he’s still there! Granted, it’s not the same as having him out there, slightly stage right, each day. However, I know he’s there like a benevolent spirit—my own personal Jacob Marley, Clarence, and Nearly Headless Nick all rolled into one.

Rest in peace, buddy.


???? – 2011

18 thoughts on “Alas, poor Onk! I knew him, Horatio…

  1. Yeah, I did. It’s set that way automatically, and I didn’t have time to turn it off before I took the shot. 🙂 I didn’t want to keep the people coming up behind me waiting too long.

  2. Great story. It reminded me a little of an outbreak of graffiti that happened in a town near where I live – I thought it was going to grow into something dramatic but it didn’t, and it felt like a lost opportunity… (there’s a little more information on it at the end of

    1. I actually think graffiti is a fascinating art form when it’s done in the proper time and way. However, I had a friend who owned a business, and he had to waste time and money trying to clean up after people who did it on the side of his building. I suppose as a practical artistic type (yes, I know it’s a paradox), I’m drawn (no pun intended) on the matter.

    1. Thanks, Lorna. 🙂 I was stunned by my reaction to it. Really, I was. I don’t get emotional over much, but I guess it reveals how much I dislike change. I’m thinking about sneaking out there with a can of spray paint and tracing him back on the wall.

  3. Poor Onk…

    You’re on a blogging tear, Jamie! I’m glad you’re in an environment that stimulates you to write. As Matt Chandler (Pastor at The Village Church in Texas) says, we must make sure to focus on “what stirs our affections for Christ.” Clearly writing does this for you, and I love seeing it happen!


    1. Mike, the environment helps but also hurts. When you work on the computer all day editing, sometimes it’s hard to get your juices flowing for your own stuff. However, when I open my eyes and really start looking, I find no shortage of things to write about. October was also a light month for blogging because of the article I had to write for work for the March magazine, and my words were being routed in new directions (which is great!) They are feeling more inclined to trust me with longer pieces each time; the one for March is almost 1,900 words! I hope to be a staple writer with them one day to be able to use my talent in the service of the Lord. It really is amazing to think about where I am now compared to, say, two years ago. God was preparing me even then for such a time as this!

      1. Totally cool…
        In Touch author/editor; and I knew you when…!

        Well, let me know when you strike it big and get some funding to come for a visit. You’d love the driving here, hahahahahahaha!

  4. Yes, it was a little wet that day…
    We’ll have to schedule you guys to come down December, January, February…dry season!

    In Panama they actually take those months off of school; so their new school year will start in March or so. And they play baseball during the winter here to because it’s the dry season…hmmmm…

    The Copa Mundial de beisbol was held here in Panama. I didn’t get to go see any games but I heard it was some good ball. I need to get out and about to see some baseball!

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