Straphanger Joe: Looking for the Obvious

There’s a poster in front of me showing two guns, one red the other black with the caption, Which is real and which is a toy? above it.

These public service ads have been out since since December but every time I see them I stop and ask myself, Which is real and which is a toy?I look at them and think, this is too obvious – the black is real and the red is a toy. But then I read the sub-headline which says, It’s not the one you think. So the obvious answer then has to be the red gun because that’s not the one you think, which is the black one. But, if my original thought is that it’s the red gun, because why have the ad in the first place if the answer has to be the red gun, then… it’s not the one you think makes me think the obvious answer has to be the black one is the real gun. But, what if they’re both real? It doesn’t say that can’t be, but then why ask which is real… if you don’t want people to make a choice. No, it has to be one and not the other. So the real one has to be… the red one. Unless… it’s the black one in which case it can’t be the red one.Where is my train?

At this point, waiting for the F to arrive I’ve already spent way to much time thinking about guns, something I’d rather not do since I don’t believe anyone should have one, unless they’re a superhero who has only good in his or her heart. Though why a superhero would need a gun because they’re, well, a superhero, I don’t know… unless they’re The Punisher, or Batman. They use guns of various sorts, I think. Or… Hell Boy. Yes, he uses a big gun – a very big gun.

I checked on the ad in a piece from the Daily News and they report that indeed, the red gun is the real gun and the black gun is the toy. It seems City laws require toy guns to be painted red, yellow, or blue (bright colors indeed), only, surprise surprise, gun dealers have caught on and painted real guns the same colors. I’m not sure what all this means other than guns, toy or real, mean trouble. How do British Police officers do their jobs without guns?

Can you image a British ad with a picture of a nightstick – what the English call a truncheon – one red and one black with the caption, Which is real and which is a toy? It’s not the one you think.

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