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Take Exit 24B, off of the freeway to University Ave., and you’ll notice the “U” in the bright green road sign looks a bit funny. The vowel has a slight modification with an arrow in the middle, pointing downward to the whizzing cars below.Hey, did I just see a downward arrow in that “U?”
It’s a sticker we’ve been seeing all over Hawaii, even snatching on to things across the states – like the famous HOLLYWOOD landmark in Cali hillsides. It stands for UDOWN, “a video/clothing/state of mind company with no regards for ‘fashion’ or corporate interests,” as described on its site. The trademark started in Hawaii more than a decade ago with something similar to MTV’s hit series Jackass but a local version of crazy stunts and antics “whenever and wherever possible.” The daring stunt videos beg the question: “Are you down?,” giving life to the name UDOWN.
Needless to say, these infamous letter “U’s” have upset some people, particularly those in the state Department of Transportation. They’re calling it a form of vandalism and a way for people to get hurt. After all, the stickers didn’t just appear on the 30-foot high signs by themselves.
This particular sticker on the Pali Highway is often mistaken for the blue light of a cop car every time the whizzing cars’ lights shine on it.
It’s not much of a secret as to where the stickers come from. UDOWN opened a store in Kailua and sells stickers, clothing and posters on its website. They also sell stuff on the Big Island at Davelyn’s of Kona. The stickers may come from the store, but on UDOWN’s site, they’ve made sure to let everyone know that they don’t solicit vandalism on public and/or private property. “Please show some respect.”
State officials still think there’s a big, fat arrow pointing in UDOWN’s direction, saying that without a doubt, UDOWN is the mysterious sticker bandit. But no one said a little attitude was illegal. The same sass apparent in UDOWN’s self-description can be seen throughout their website. At the bottom of the About page, it slyly states – “For complaints, call 1-800-fall-off or 1-800-eat-s…
Photo Credit: Noa Myers