I happened to be in lovely North Conway, NH this past February and met up with Kevin Tilton and Jim Johnson for a run. We opted to avoid the busy streets and instead took to the snow-covered trails. It’s been a February tradition to visit this beautiful little town, but shamefully I had been unaware of the plentiful trail options that were available to me. Going for a run was always just a little dreaded because the streets were busy and still not familiar enough to do much more than glorified out and back type runs. They gave me a guided tour of some good snow mobile trails and luckily we didn’t have to jump out of the way too many times. However, the beauty of the run was interrupted by the dark side of competition:
It’s along way from Rhode Island, but TNT had managed to put their mark on someone else’s territory. But what could be behind this? Initial thoughts went right to intimidation, but then after giving it a little more consideration, the idea of some type of initiation seemed to work too.
Kevin was the first to break the silence. “Sometime after I first saw this [rock graffiti], I came home from a run only to find out that they somehow tagged the back of my shirt. How?” It would take incredible skill and agility to be able to not only keep pace with likes of Kevin, but to spray paint his shirt legibly without detection is some serious next level stuff.
Jim pondered his own fate: “Will I be next? Each run I go out for could the one where TNT tags me.” Concerns such as theses made a harsh winter that much tougher to deal with. With these Turtles operating so far outside of their home range it was very difficult to gauge when and where another landmark or person may be tagged.
The vocabulary is also a big issue here. The F-word in the picture was unknown to both Kevin and Jim, and in fact nobody from New Hampshire used it before then. Never having seen that word before, Kevin and Jim asked around, and ultimately Jason Ayr, a Massachusetts resident who not only was very familiar with the word but used it quite masterfully, told Kevin and Jim all about it.
After the initial shock passed, Kevin and Jim returned to New Hampshire with their new vocabulary and it spread quickly. It’s now one of the most used words in the Granite State. In fact, recently a bill was introduced that would insert a form of the word into the state motto on license plates (between the words ‘or’ and ‘die’).
We reached out to TNT for comment, but after initially refusing comment, they then referred us to the rock under the bridge. Well played, TNT. Well played.