Nothing says Towson like the roundabout

October 27, 2005|By KEVIN COWHERD

I read in the Towson Times yesterday that Towson is looking for a logo or icon to help market the area, something along the lines of those goofy crab sculptures you see in Baltimore or the cow sculptures they have in Chicago.

So the Towson Business Association is soliciting ideas. And whoever comes up with the winning idea for the logo gets dinner at a Towson restaurant with TBA president Gary Padussis and his wife.

To which I say: Gary, call Cafe Troia right now and get us a nice table over by the window, will you?

Oh, and I'll have the Piatto Misto for starters. And probably the jumbo shrimp with roasted garlic, lemon and a touch of cream.

You and your wife pick the wine, OK, babe?

Yep, that's right, I plan to win this logo contest.

Look, I'm in Towson all the time -- well, whenever I can get through that stupid roundabout without someone plowing into my car and sending me through the front windows of Barnes & Noble.

OK, there's my first idea for the logo contest: a sculpture of the roundabout, only you make it real scary and psychedelic-looking, some kind of Stephen King-meets-Peter Max thing.

No, stay with me here, I'm not through.

OK, now in the middle of the roundabout sculpture, you show a lot of tiny cars trying to enter from every direction.

And the person in each tiny car is shown cursing and banging a fist on the dashboard because one of the other tiny cars just cut him off.

Maybe you highlight one of the tiny cars -- paint it bright red or something. (Look, I'm not the artist here. I'm just the idea guy.)

And you make it clear the reason the guy in that tiny car is upset is, he can't get into the right lane and continue south on York Road.

No, now he has to take his life in his hands and go around the roundabout again and pray someone lets him in the right lane this time so he can exit.

You could even show some tiny pedestrians trying to cross the intersection -- for effect, make 'em senior citizens using walkers -- with a look of absolute terror on their faces.

What do you think, Gary?

OK, fine, I know it's rough conceptually.

But that's a winner in the hands of the right artiste, Gary. You know it and I know it.

Unfortunately, Padussis wasn't in yesterday when I called the TBA to report my winning idea.

So I spoke to executive director Suzan Doordan, who said the search for a new logo for Towson was something that "brings unity to a community."

"What we want to do is promote Towson," she continued. "It's unique because it's not a small-town town or a big-town town."

Hey, maybe that could be the county seat's new slogan, if it's ever looking for a new slogan: "Towson: We're bigger than you think. Or smaller. Depending."

It was when I got off the phone with Doordan that I came up with my second logo idea, which is almost as brilliant as the first.

OK, here it is: a street scene of Towson, looking south on York Road from just past the roundabout.

You've got the Recher Theatre on your left. You've got Towson Commons (is that place even still open?) on your right.

An old-fashioned clock on a pole indicates it's 2 a.m. The sidewalks are clogged with young people leaving the bars, their little faces flushed from ... well, lets just say flushed from excitement.

Many of them are seen dashing into the street in front of alarmed motorists, who are hitting their brakes and rolling down their windows and shouting something unprintable into the night air.

Tell me that doesn't say Towson, Maryland, USA.

And tell me that's not another winner.

In any event, Doordan said the TBA would accept logo ideas from the public until Dec. 15.

Then the winning idea will be selected, and a sculpture incorporating the new marketing logo will be unveiled Jan. 25 at a gala event at Goucher College.

In the meantime, Doordan said ideas for the new logo can be e-mailed to the TBA at tba@towsonbusinessassoc.org.

But you're wasting your time if you do.

I've got this thing locked up.

Senior citizens trying to cross the roundabout on walkers -- it's little touches like that that put you over the top.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

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